David Jason, who played the much loved market trader and dodgy dealer on the BBC comedy hit Only Fools and Horses, Derek “Delboy” Trotter – has caused offence by making a “Pakistani” joke. The joke is “What do you call a Pakistani cloakroom attendant?” the answer “Me-hat-Me coat”. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7965058.stm
Now the funny thing is? that it is a play on the name “Mahatma” which is not a Pakistani name, the joke should be “What do you call a Hindu cloakroom attendant?”? now, even with the factually correct ethnicity inserted, it doesn’t make the joke any funnier. Even so, I don’t think it was a racist joke. I mean, on BBC Radio 4? I have heard the comedian and comedy writer Barry Crier? joke “What does a Spanish fireman call his? two sons?” the answer “Hose A and Hose B” a play on the name “Jos?” (pronounced “ho-sayy”). Both jokes are very similar but if one is racist so too is the other.
The BBC reports there have not been any complaint so far but maintained the the joke was inappropriate.
I was reading Osama Saeed’s blog Rolled Up Trousers and he has dug up a report from the Independent in 2005 that could perhaps explain the BBC decision. It turns out that the Director General Mark Thompson was on a trip to Jerusalem in 2005 and had a face to face meeting with the war criminal Ariel Sharon;? Mr. Thompson’s wife is also Jewish.? You make your own mind up and if you are yet to make a complaint to the BBC perhaps you should ask whether these two points had any bearing on the decision.
You can register your own complain here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/
Here is what I wrote:
I wish to complain about the BBC’s decision to not allow the DEC appeal for Gaza to go ahead. This is a very disgraceful decision and will cost lives on the ground. I do not buy the BBC’s official line that it affects its impartiality since this was not a concern for other similar appeals. I can only think that the BBC has succumbed to some external pressure from a foreign government. This is the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation and as a license fee payer I am angry, annoyed and disgusted at this decision for which there is no conceivable reason. Could you please publish the minutes of the meeting in which this decision was made and why and I would like to know which of the directors/trustees decided against the DEC appeal?
EVERYONE I have spoken to, regardless of their ethnic or religious background, cannot understand this ludicrous and cruel decision, it would seem that the overwhelming majority of the BRITISH public do not agree with you. In fact I think it is safe to say that given this it is the BBC that is currently not acting impartially.
Yours angered, annoyed and disgusted.
Masud A. Khan