The BBC's vacuous decision to edit out an appearance of Jonathan King on a 1976 edition of Top of the Pops for a BBC4 rerun sets an intriguing precedent. We all know King was convicted and jailed for sex with underage teenage boys a few years back, but what could be the rationale for this show 'laundering'; this charade that King never existed?
As columnist Terence Blacker writes in the Independent, "Certainly, if the BBC's new policy is to give musicians a retrospective morality test before allowing them on the screen, its censorship department is going to be busy. There will be no room for Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Pete Townshend, Ike Turner and many others – and that's before one has even reached jazz."
To this roster of BBC disappearing acts we should perhaps add, among so many others, George Michael, Michael Jackson (OK never convicted, but, y'know....), Boy George, Gary Glitter of course, Sid Vicious. Oh, and not forgetting convicted murderer Phil Spector and all his work. And if past notoriety is a factor in deciding spiritual contagion, should we not even consider Sir Elton John for footage oblivion - after all, that well known hack-moralist Alison Boshoff of the Daily Mail felt compelled to write this line in worthless huffy-puffiness back in 1999: "Sir Elton John was last night facing the possibility of legal action after he appeared with a troupe of male strippers dressed as Cub Scouts at a gay rights concert." Sir Elton still awaits the writ.
Whoever at the BBC made the decision to airbrush King out is in the wrong job. There must be a Murdoch red-top that needs you.