Your complaint matters: but it bloody shouldn't

archbishop of canterbury

You may be one of 2200 people who had the time to call into a hotline recently and complain about the following sketch.

t's a sketch starring Rowan Atkinson as the new Archbishop of Canterbury, addressing his flock on the importance of Comic Relief. I'll not destroy the sketch entirely for those who didn't just watch it, but it's essentially a characterisation of a man of the cloth who's desperately trying to appear chummy and cool.

(Side note, this isn't the first time Rowan Atkinson has played such a character)

Back to the people who complained about this archbishop sketch to the BBC. Here is what must have gone through the minds of these people.

  1. This is a comedy sketch for Comic Relief, an organisation that has raised hundreds of millions of pounds in aid for the world.
  2. This sketch has the aim of getting people to give more money to the organisation.
  3. It's making an archbishop look silly - it must be STOPPED.
  4. It makes the claims that a) One Direction are the disciples of Christ, b) Jesus loves swearing but only up to a point, c) prayer doesn't work.
  5. I, lacking humour, have decided that the sketch writers and Rowan Atkinson sincerely believe that One Direction are disciples, Jesus loves swearing and prayer doesn't work.
  6. I must pick up this phone and call the people that listen to me complain. I will then complain.
  7. Once I have complained, the Lord will thank me for taking the time to slam this sketch. Fuck the £75million Comic Relief raised that night. (Correction: the complainer won't use the word 'fuck')
  8. Rowan Atkinson is going to Hell.
  9. If this call doesn't swallow up my phone bill, I'll donate a couple of quid to the cause.
  10. I wonder if I have enough leftovers from last night's pasta for a whole meal.

And so on and so on. What's that dreadful term used in language? Haters gonna hate? Fine, let them be. They can sit in their armchairs and get worked up over this sort of thing.

The sin of the whole thing isn't the fact that 2200 people honestly had the time to complain about a charity-money-raising sketch.
It's the fact that the BBC have pulled this sketch. Note that the embedded sketch is ripped from the screen, that's because you won't find it online anymore. Nope, the Beeb buckled.

I've written before about the BBC and the rudderless path they have been on recently, and how badly we need them to return to triumphant times. They allow Comic Relief on their screens for an evening and instead of screeching with pride at the genuine help towards a better world they've offered, they are apologising. BBC, don't apologise. It is neither wanted nor deserved.

Of course it's not just the BBC. Any broadcaster is susceptible to getting the tone wrong, and usually they hear a tiny portion of complaints and immediately assume a nation is against them. Well we're not. We are immensely proud of last Friday night, and cannot wait to see the aid distributed to Africa.

So, for every complaint news story, I propose a solution that is fairer. Tally the number of people who complain against the number of people who, once they hear ludicrous complaints such as these, counter-complain. Once that happens, I strongly suspect the number of people who complained about this sketch would be a very high negative number. I for one bring the number down to 2199, and I hope you all join me.

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