When it first aired 30 years ago in less politically correct times, nobody batted an eyelid at the risque comments made in the prison comedy Porridge.This decision is ridiculous in a variety of different ways. For a start, picking on this particularly innocuous innuendo is ludicrous, since one routinely hears far more crude and, potentially, offensive innuendo regarding homosexuals (and heterosexuals, for that matter) broadcast by people like Graham Norton, without any efforts towards censorship.
Ronnie Barker's character Fletcher was always ribbing his fellow inmates, not least Lukewarm, the outlandishly camp chef played by Christopher Biggins.
But three decades on, one particular remark has caused outrage, because it has been removed from a repeat.
Fans of the sitcom, which regularly pulled in more than 10 million viewers, have accused the BBC of "giving in to the politically correct brigade" after a phrase was removed from the programme on Saturday.They claim the comment "that sort do, don't they", referring to Lukewarm's ability to keep his cell clean, was taken out because it could be offensive to homosexuals.
One also has to wonder, since it is apparently now the case that, not only will new shows be prevented from including non-PC content, but that existing TV shows will be retrospectively edited years after their creation, in order to ensure that they conform to the standards of today's PC liberals, where this latter-day Bowdlerisation will end. Will we, for example, see Aristophanes' couplet from The Frogs, "Oh, what's come over Cleisthenes, he looks so full of care/he's lost his lovely boyfriend and his sad cries rend the air" removed, a mere two and a half thousand years after being written, lest it cause offence to homosexuals? In the present climate, that wouldn't surprise me at all.