Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Outrage at BBC Terror Joke Video

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Outrage at BBC Terror Joke Video

Article excerpt


MEMBERS of the BBC London news team have filmed a spoof video making light of the conflict in the Middle East.

The joke film - a skit on Peter Kay's Is This The Way To Amarillo? - was made to mark the departure of assistant editor Simon Torkington, who is moving to news channel Al-Jazeera International in Qatar with his wife, former ITV news anchor Shiulie Ghosh.

It was shown at a private leaving party for Torkington - nicknamed "Storky" - last week. But a copy was leaked by a BBC insider angry that licence fee payers' cash was used to make a "tasteless" skit that could cause offence to Muslims and relatives of the victims of 9/11 and the London bombings.

It is particularly embarrassing coming as the world remembers the 2001 terror attacks. BBC London journalists, including transport correspondent Andrew Winstanley and reporter Sarah Harris are seen singing in tea towel head-dresses and fake beards with a video backdrop of news footage of missile launchers, tanks and soldiers in gas masks.

BBC London special correspondent Kurt Barling - who has reported extensively on the issues facing Britain's Muslim community - appears bare-chested and dancing in a Muslim prayer hat.

The re-jigged lyrics feature jokes about Osama bin Laden, the traditional Islamic jilbab dress and the Palestinian intifada.

Fronting the video in the Peter Kay role is Ian Wade, a member of BBC London management staff who was caught up in the Piccadilly line bombing last year.

Others said to feature in the video, which sees the group dancing in a stairwell at the BBC's Marylebone headquarters, in a lift and leaping out of a BBC London van outside the offices, include news anchor Matt Barbet, arts correspondent Brenda Emmanus and reporter Karthi Gnanasegaram, along with half a dozen others. …

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