Sir Terry Wogan show 'breached guidelines'
Published: 4th Jul 2012 08:44:09
Sir Terry Wogan broke broadcasting guidelines after he appeared to make light of the Costa Concordia tragedy on his radio show, the BBC Trust has said.
The presenter made a joke after disco track Rock the Boat was played on his live Sunday morning show, nine days after the ship ran aground in January.
Seven listeners complained to the BBC over the comments.
The BBC Trust concluded as there was a "real risk of causing offence", the guidelines had been breached.
After beginning the 22 January broadcast with the 1974 track, Sir Terry mused on whether it had been an appropriate song to play.
"Frankly if I had my time over again, and given the boating tragedy in Italy, I mightn't have picked that as an opening song," he said.
"Rock the Boat, argh, Captain Coward," he added.
Later, in an conversation with newsreader Alan Dedicoat, the veteran presenter said: "I don't know about you... but I'll be the last to leave the BBC.
"Not sinking is it? Me first, never mind the women and children, I'm not even Italian."
At the time, it had been reported at least 11 people had died in the Concordia disaster and the search for survivors was still ongoing.
In its ruling, the BBC Trust's editorial standards committee said Sir Terry's remarks were "characteristically self-deprecating".
The 73-year-old, it went on, had been "joking about his own lack of bravery rather than the victims of the tragedy itself".
"In this context the committee did not believe there had been any intention to cause offence.
"The committee, however, did conclude that there was a real risk of causing offence and in this context the guidelines had been breached."
The Trust said it was "surprised" the BBC did not broadcast an apology at the time.
Yet it noted the BBC accepted the remarks and music were inappropriate and had privately apologised to listeners.
It concluded the breach had "not been so great as to warrant a public apology taking into account various factors" and that no further action was necessary.
Sir Terry began his Weekend Wogan programme in February 2010 after giving up the Radio 2 breakfast show, now hosted by Chris Evans.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Sir Terry Wogan show 'breached guidelines'. [Online] (Updated 04 Jul 2012)
Available at: http://www.manchesterwired.co.uk/news.php/1438564-Sir-Terry-Wogan-show-breached-guidelines [Accessed 22nd May 2013]
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