Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Jonathan King: BBC edits him out of a Top of the Pops rerun

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.

7 comments:

Ciaran Rehill said...

If one wishes to "like" Gary Glitter on FB there is a blank...

Madame Arcati said...

I'd put Glitter in the next Celebrity Big Brother - that's showbiz!

Anonymous said...

Preposterous! I'm no fan of King, never was, but it's not for the BBC to make these decisions. What do they fear precisely apart from a kicking from discredited tabloids?

Jonathan King said...

Indeed - most of the hundreds of messages I've had don't like me or the track but are incensed by the Stalinist revision of history - and what offends me is the sneaky, slippery, cowardly way they did it, not even mentioning that the "full unedited" version of the show (late at night - 1am on BBC4 - not many to offend) has had me snipped out of it (you can see me and Noel Edmonds introducing it on You Tube). If they can do it to me, what else are they "editing"? My God George Orwell got it right, didn't he?

Anonymous said...

I suspect some pathetic functionary low down in the food chain made this decision, a petty moralist who suffers from a sniff and eczema. And on BBC4, the liberal media's favourite TV channer right now!

Lady Macbeth said...

It's a bizarre decision but demonstrates the difference between 'showbiz' in the UK & USA. Notoriety in any form in the USA sends you to the front of the queue and JK would be used in adverts to promote ToTP.

Madame Arcati said...

I agree. In the UK, celebrity is regarded as a reward for good behaviour whereas in the US it is a consequence of doing something (such as getting up in the morning).