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Alan Davies accuses the BBC of encouraging comedians to self-censor

QI star Alan Davies accuses the BBC of encouraging comedians to self-censor to avoid a backlash and fears comics will shy away from voicing strong views

  • Alan Davies says that BBC bosses should be wary of curbing artistic freedom
  • The comedian, 55, has starred on the panel show QI since it began in 2003 
  • He spoke out following the axeing of the BBC satirical show The Mash Report

QI star Alan Davies has waded into the freedom-of-speech debate by accusing the BBC of encouraging comedians to self-censor to avoid a backlash.

The Jonathan Creek actor said he fears that fellow comics will shy away from voicing strong views because Corporation bosses fear being criticised – and urged performers to become ‘braver’.

The 55-year-old, who has starred on the panel show QI since it began in 2003, told The Mail on Sunday that BBC bosses should be wary of curbing artistic freedom.

QI star Alan Davies has waded into the freedom-of-speech debate by accusing the BBC of encouraging comedians to self-censor to avoid a backlash

‘I’d be a little bit cautious about clipping people’s wings too much,’ he said. 

‘If you get to the point where people don’t want to voice an opinion or have a point of view, then it becomes a freedom-of-speech issue, and I don’t like seeing that happen to anyone.’

Warning that the Corporation’s stance had a chilling effect on creative work, he said: ‘What happens, and what does worry me a bit, is writers and comedians tend to self-censor before they submit their work. A comedian is going to have a point of view and an opinion.

‘They tend to think ‘Oh, if I say this it might get a complaint or they might not like that’, or ‘That might not get commissioned’, and ‘I’d better play safe, I’d better not take a chance’.

Davies spoke out following the axeing of the BBC satirical show The Mash Report earlier this year. Hosted by Nish Kumar, it was reportedly cancelled as part of a BBC crackdown of its ‘perceived Left-wing bias’

‘I think in-house at the BBC they’re always very conscious about receiving criticism and I feel as though that kind of feeling of self-censoring is a real worry.’

He added: ‘I think people need to be a little bit braver. And an audience should be prepared to hear an opinion and a point of view. Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean the other person needs to stop speaking. It’s not how life works.’

Davies spoke out following the axeing of the BBC satirical show The Mash Report earlier this year.

Hosted by Nish Kumar, it was reportedly cancelled as part of a BBC crackdown of its ‘perceived Left-wing bias’. 

Commenting on his axeing, Kumar, 35, said: ‘Why would I put myself back in that position if, when push comes to it, they’re not going to back me?’

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