back to article UK telly in coke blizzard shock

A former BBC producer has claimed that the UK's TV industry is snowed under with charlie, and the "off-the-wall" brilliance of many stars is down to prodigious intake of nose ajax. That's according to Sarah Graham, a BBC Radio 5, Children's BBC and Channel 4's The Big Breakfast vet, who has recounted the scale of the abuse to …


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  1. Mark Lockwood

    It's clearly a new phenomenon

    This never went on 20 years ago. Things like Jamie and his Magic Torch and Chorlton and the Wheelies were obviously created by someone with a sober head

  2. James 5

    Cocaine ..

    ... the fuel for media narcissists.

  3. Annihilator Silver badge

    Media industry in drug use shock

    Coming up, bear defacates in woods. BONG.... Pope wears funny hat. BONG...

  4. Chronos

    "I unfortunately went to the toilet and took cocaine"

    One has to draw the line somewhere...

  5. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Who'd have thought?!

    Shocking, absolutely shocking.


  6. Calvin Davidson

    Where, oh where...

    ... is the ORLY owl when we need him?

  7. Peter Kay

    In other shock news, ursine defecation occurs in tree heavy areas

    Drugs use in the entertainment industry. How is this news to anyone?

  8. Hugh_Pym

    Votes Please

    On which TV presenters are only 'off the wall' because they are 'off their heads'.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What a surprise next you'll be telling me that sales people and marketing people are all doing coke too!

  10. Liam Johnson

    All is clear now

    That certainly explains some of the shows on Childrens BBC.

  11. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    Just Telly

    What about Fleet Street?

    Hell what about politics. Are but I suppose the commons don't need to be told about that.

    There's a certain type of upper middle for whom coke is just part of life. It's just coincidence that careers that appeal to these pricks are the media and politics.

  12. TrishaD

    Quality Television

    Anyone ever observe that when in the company of people who've taken large amounts of drugs, be that alcohol, weed, or whatever, they become utterly fascinated by each others' conversation and increasingly incomprehensible to anyone else?

    Enthusiastic use of Colombian Marching Powder explains the fact that most television for at least ten years has been utter gibberish.....

  13. Michael Fremlins

    Cocaine is not that bad

    It's only the usual anti-drugs lobby who bleat on like sheep about it. Some people, not many, get a problem with cocaine. Nearly all do not. Most people who take cocaine do so because they enjoy it, not because they are stupid or "throwing away their lives". It's called being an adult, about making a choice for oneself and not listening to the limp and clammy hand brigade who wouldn't fart in public. The ones who are easily led are those who buy the anti-drugs load of nonsense.

    I'd like to turn the tables on the bleaters. It's time there was compulsory drugs testing at the end of every sitting of parliament, and every time the plod returns from whatever it is they do these days (attending meetings, perhaps?), and for every Home Office employee when they leave for the day.

    For the luvvies who would never do Charlie, before and after every music gig for those performing, actors on stage and film sets, newspaper reporters, etc.

    To all those out there who take their drugs and enjoy it, you are my kind of people. Live and let live.

  14. MnM
    Paris Hilton

    "I believe that changed the course of my life from that point on"

    Whatever, sweetheart. And if it weren't for the hand of god, we would have won that match.

  15. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    IT Angle


    how some comedians get on our screens

    <Tv exec> wow this guy is so funny (snort) I'll give him a big budget TV show




    <People watching Tv while not on coke> This guy is about as funny as having your legs amputated by Jack the ripper

  16. Bad Beaver

    Next up

    we'll be told that cocaine is a hell of a drug!

    "Unfortunately she went to the toilet and took cocaine" – yeah, most unfortunate. You never know who has been to that toilet before. Surely hope she didn't end up socializing some more in there, you never know what that does to your carreer either. I really pity those poor, poor media folks, the need help.

  17. Ben Klumaster

    One surprise

    This does surprise me in one way - I always assumed that Frank was put together entirely by people who had never encountered the drugs they describe.

  18. Colin Guthrie

    I want a double blind clinical trial.

    I'll bet if to told some media type straight out of uni, naive to the ways of the world but silly haircut and frankly stupid fashion sense firmly in place and gave them some placebo white powder to snort of the next 10 years before going into "rehab" you'd get a big chunk of people marching to the Bolivian anthem simply because their sheep. I'm not saying some people have problems with coke, and obviously some people have bad experiences. But then some people have bad experiences just breathing, so what does that prove. Fuck all.

    All this is is rhetoric pure and simple. I'm glad she's working as a councillor to those who feel they need help, but there is far too much FUD about drug use, especially around cocaine.

    /me mumbes something about the US and it's bully tactics against the WHO.....,_1995

  19. Elmer Phud

    Born again - back on the booze?

    So, nothing about the champagne she'd happily quaffed, bugger all about how much booze is consumed. Becomes born again 'straight', bleats to committee, gets job wirh Frank - the big pointless waste of money and energy and webspace that it is.

    Major fail.

  20. Christopher Rogers


    It probably explains the Jeremy Kyle Show then...

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Drug testing would be a good step in the entertainment industry

    It's rife, yes. And very public. The problem is, nobody wants to do anything about it, because the people doing it are being successful, and entertainment is all about success; the rest of us are hanging on to the success. Doing something like telling plod doesn't just put the offender out of work, it puts the rest of us out of work.

  22. Mike Flugennock

    Totally speculating with no evidence, here, but...

    ...d'ya think this could explain 95% of all Monty Python sketches? No, not cocaine, but weed.

    I've been watching the six-part documentary on Python on IFC here in the Colonies; last night's episode went into some detail on Graham Chapman's alcoholism, and as I watched some of the old BBC clips, I couldn't help wondering whether or not a joint or two was passed around at some of the script meetings.

    Not to denigrate the sheer genius of Python -- they couldn't have been that great if they weren't immensely talented to begin with -- but a lot of that stuff seems as if it were written by people who were really, really, _really_ stoned... especially the Dead Parrot Sketch. I laughed like a lunatic the first time I saw that one, while "straight", but the first time I saw it stoned, I laughed until I damn' near wet myself.

    And the Nobody Expects The Spanish Inquisition bits -- that seems like it was written after a few bong hits as well. I mean, c'mon... soft cushions? Comfy chair? "Tie her to the Rack"?

    Pint of beer, only because there's no little bong icon.

  23. Scott 19
    Thumb Down

    Guess what

    As someone pointed out above i don't think this will be broadcast as headline news anywhere soon as Fleetstreet is porbably the one place that does as much as the entertainment industry, just don't mention to the red tops dope though as they'll start froathing at the mouth.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Coke + media

    I always wanked to wort in the media, but I never went throu with it.

    Maybe I'll go down to the corner shop and get a can or too and have a go

  25. martinX

    Who is Frank?

    Wait - you guys have a drug education program called "Frank"? What's your financial education program called? Bill?

  26. Richard 120


    Bastard Maradonna ruined my childhood, we'd have won the world cup if it wasn't for the midget argentine cheat.

  27. Richard IV

    Ooh, time for fun with statistics

    I want to see some sort of analogue to the Consumer Prices Index being the Retail Prices Index without mortgages: the Media Prices Index could be the Meejuh Prices Index without the coke. On such indices, one suspects that the former rises rather slowly while the latter reaches new highs every year...

  28. miknik

    I'm Rick James, bitch!

    Yeah I remember grinding my feet in his couch, cocaine is a hell of a drug.

  29. spiny norman

    Could explain a lot of things

    True, we know the link between creativity and addiction isn't new; it goes way back beyond Docherty and Winehouse, and even before Warhol and Hendrix. Middle England demands that something is done to stop their children becoming drug craving monsters, but no government can risk a successful campaign against drug supply that would reduce our one remaining export industry to sober mediocrity. Hence a highly visible and expensive "war on drugs" that, according to the UK Drugs Commission report in 2008, intercepts no more than 12% of cocaine imports and 9% of heroin.

    The other end of the government campaign attacks demand with token arrests of users and advertising of the "heroin screws you up" variety. This to a youth culture that enjoys piercings and tattoos, and voluntarily listens to Coldplay.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mike Flugennock

    ... keep toking away dude ...

    It's entirely possible to be as equally funny and nutty without requiring a puff on the old silly sticks.

    Indeed, you'd probably find that had they been hitting the herb, they woudn't have got nearly as much work done, because the prime side effect of this rather stupid drug, is extreme laziness.

    ... hey, perhaps they were doing charlie!

    Or - perish the thought - it was booze!

    Or maybe, just maybe, they were extremely talented individuals, that despite addictions by some of them (most notably chapman) - they managed to produce what they did and drugs had sweet FA to do with it.

  31. Lord Lien

    @ Mark Lockwood

    No all "out there" T.V programs come from people who take drugs, the human mind is quite capable of coming up with these ideas with out a line/joint or a tug on a crack pipe.... tho it helps.

    Smiley face, because it reminds me of AAAAAACCCCCIIIIIIIIIIIIDDDDDDDDDDDDDD by D-Mob

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What ever the dangers to the user...

    Look up the damage coke prodution is doing to the world...

  33. Anonymous Coward

    aka the dopeler effect.

    The tendency of stupid ideas to sound cleverer when coming at you faster

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Should be. How about criminal education called Robin? Or sex education by Paris?

    Anyone who thought putting Big Brother on the box must have been on the Bolivian Marching Powder. Along with most of the inmates.

  35. markfiend

    What we need is free-trade cocaine

    Legalise it to put the cartels out of business, then make it fair trade so the farmers get more money and aren't on subsistence wages any longer. Win-win all round I reckon.

  36. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    @Boris the Cockroach

    Been watching Michael McIntyre have you?

    He was described on popbitch as "the c**t's c**t". Probably the most accurate description of a standup ever.

  37. This post has been deleted by its author

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Double standards

    Don't DVD's tell us that piracy helps fund organised crime?

  39. Robert Carnegie Silver badge


    "Frank" is an adjective in the dictionary, and I haven't tried them but I'm not dead sure that they live up to it, i.e. that as just mentioned, taking funny drugs is FUN, while you're doing it, at first. If you don't admit that then you are not being frank. Anyway, there's a web site, .

    However, I've just thought that it may refer to Frank Bough, a genial wise old news broadcaster who was exposed as using much of the happy happy dust, and also paying naughty ladies to do kinky things, after which (especially the second) I think he mostly worked in local radio. He was on the telly breakfast time news magazine show before and it may have been the only way he could find to get himself going at that hour at his age - happy dust not naughty ladies, I mean.

    Amy Winehouse's dad told parliament yesterday(?) that as he understands it, most substance abusers begin by using alcohol quite heavily before they get hooked on other things, but I think it isn't always the case.

    There are some fine things on BBC children's TV although they aren't to my taste. SORRY I'VE GOT NO HEAD is as juvenile as the first series of KEVIN BISHOP but if you're twelve must be marvellous, unlike Bishop who is adults-only -and-, in that first series, puerile. The second was mostly better. OOGLIES I didn't know what the heck was going on and whether it was good or bad. You have to see it, or... Animated, it appears that mischievous poltergeist spirits inhabit more-or-less inanimate small objects such as vegetables, eggs, sausages, toothbrushes and just about anything else, and then act out dozens of little plays in a quarter hour. At least that's my interpretation, I don't want to believe that eggs or tomatoes actually died in the course of the story, but many children are rather cruel about such things and probably don't mind.

    Given past revelations, I suppose it is likely that some or all of the lively minds that delight me on such as MOCK THE WEEK are synthetically accelerated in a socially unfortunate manner (as another explanation I think Frankie Boyle claims to have scored 98% on an are-you-a-psychopath test - really), and the sheer number of quite different things that Marcus Brigstocke is in, SORRY I'VE GOT NO HEAD included, makes you wonder where he gets the energy, could it be the same place as Frank Bough. I prefer to believe that Brigstocke and the others like him are just naturally funny and intelligent and humane and energetic, the lucky few best of us who earn the privilege of an audience's attention, several distinct audiences in that case, justly much in demand because they're good at it.

    Even if someone in that line of work is exposed as chemically self-modulated I may still admire their work and would not reject it for that reason - but yes, on reflection I would, not because it is poor work but because I don't want to support anyone's drug abuse in that sense or in most other senses.

  40. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Frank

    Could we not suggest certain specific individuals may be full of gak, please? I would like to keep my job (well, bits of it, at least). Thank you kindly.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Michael Fremlins and crowd

    There is nothing I hate more than drugtards (c)

    "ooohh it does no harm...."

    It is a poison you bloody idiots. Thats why is rots your nose and can kill you easily.

    To everyone who thinks you need it to be cool or funny etc... Get a life.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    @What ever the dangers to the user...

    those damages are bourne out of prohibition arising from the Nixon (anti-semitic) war on drugs. Obviously, coke used to be a sensibly used (i.e. strength wise) product used in pile cream, cola and many other products etc etc and deeply ingrained in Latin american cultures (as it still is).

    I read a fascinating article recently on the 'rise' of cocaine in western culture since the 60s and the glamourisation through films like Easy Rider (many many more after obviously). It really enlightened me as to where we are today in this whole drug mess.

    It needs legalising and unglamourising desperately. I used to take a bit of coke from time to time and it really is vastly overrated. Indeed, I've seen many people who drink and drink and drink and drink (not getting drunk) on coke - not realising the huge dangers of this.

    An E a couple of times a year and that's all I would want to let my hair down.

  43. Martin 6 Silver badge

    Drug testing?

    Obvious really, impose the same sort of random drug testing you have for sport.

    You could have a little announcement - tonights edition of Newsnight will not be broadcast after X tested positive for a performance enhancing substance.

    You could extend it to movie sets and recording studios.

    Finally TV would be reduced to Last of the Summer Wine and Alan Bennet (assuming Horlicks isn't a banned substance)

  44. Anonymous Coward

    @ Coke + Media

    "I always wanked to wort in the media, but I never went throu with it.

    Maybe I'll go down to the corner shop and get a can or too and have a go"

    A Joke right?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @@ Michael Fremlins and crowd

    ....he says as he pops down to the pub after work for several alcoholic beverages... maybe??

    You might be a teetotaller, if so then sorry; but if you're not, then you're a fucking hypocrit.

  46. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @@ Michael Fremlins and crowd

    "Ello! Ello! My name's Terry and I'm a law-abider."

  47. Cliff

    Coke-heads - you're fucking boring!

    Guys, those of you who believe you become superstars and fascinating raconteurs after snorting cocaine, I've got news for you - you simply become self-obsessed boring wankers. Really, really fucking boring. Delusional and tedious. It makes people think you're a tosser.

    Just thought someone should break it to you, y'know...

  48. Michael Fremlins

    @Michael Fremlins and crowd

    There you go again, you bleating sheep! I will make up my own mind, thank you.

    I don't need an Anonymous Coward to tell me that "It is a poison". (Actually, cocaine is not). But alcohol is, and that is legal. And judging by any Friday or Saturday night, loads of people are happy to get themselves paralytically drunk.

    Stop treating people who take drugs like ill-informed children, instead treat them like adults who have made a conscious decision. Their freedom to decide to take drugs is no different from your decision not to take drugs.

    When will the anti-drugs lunatics get it into their supposedly un-addled brains that prohibition does not work. They must be on something.

  49. Mike Flugennock

    @ Matt 89 and Robert Ramsay

    Uhh, like, what I said there, above. Python were off-the-scale geniuses, sober or otherwise. Some people are blessed with a natural gift of funniness -- Python, Firesign Theatre, George Carlin, -- but then, you throw a bit of psychedelics into the mix, and look out. Needless to say, of course, if you haven't the gift, all the weed in town won't help you...and, as one commenter notes above, the links between drugs -- especially weed and psychedelics -- and artists go back far before Charlie Parker, or the Grateful Dead, or Pink Floyd, or Peter Max, or Jack Kerouac.

    I guess my point was that back in college, a lot of Python's absurdist, situationist-type stuff -- Dead Parrot, Spanish Inquisition, Blackmail Game Show, Ministry Of Silly Walks -- seemed to be especially funny while high... although the first time I saw any of that stuff, it was at age 16, before I'd ever touched weed (started in college; I'm in my early 50s now), and it still had me laughing until I hurt.

    I do graphic design and illustration as a profession, and political cartoons as an avocation in my off-hours; I'll readily confess that a lot of my "research" involves nabbing a couple of tokes while paging through the wire services or checking out the talking heads on the TV. I've come up with great stuff while "straight", but there's something about weed that sort of kicks the door down, as it were. Ask the Firesign Theatre, or George Carlin (were he still here).

    The secret is, of course, to jot it all down, and then next morning with my first coffee, go over them again and see which ones are still funny.

  50. Bad Beaver

    @ Richard 120

    1986 was an interesting year ;) though I woudn't say it ruined my childhood. Thanks to the wind not blowing too strongly from the east for a while, that is.

  51. Smallbrainfield

    Ruined Septum Lady from Eastenders.

    She's a great advert for not walloping elephantine quantities of cocaine up your snout. Reconstructive surgery aside she looks old enough to be my mum and yet she's younger than me by several years. Just say no, kids.

  52. Luther Blissett

    BBC licence fee

    Yer mugs. Oh, no one else pays it either?

  53. Clint Sharp
    Thumb Up

    I understand now.

    I had it the wrong way round, having read the article I shall only download or buy pirate DVDs and music from now on as it's obvious that paying the creative media fuels the drug trade and I'm all for doing my bit in the war on drugs and organised crime.

  54. Martin 6 Silver badge

    Time for a Grange Hill remake

    Kids - do heroin and you end up like Zammo.

    But do coke and you end up as Mandleson/Graham Norton/Whoever thought weakest link was a good idea - that should have Columbia bankrupt in a week.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    And she's talking to a government group about it?!

    Do you honestly think those twats aren't on something?

    Cos I can personally point out a couple that are!

  56. Anonymous Coward

    even if you don't take them, drugs have enhanced your life

    If you don't believe drugs have done good things for us, then go home and burn all your records, all your tapes, and all your CDs because every one of those artists who have made brilliant music and enhanced your lives? RrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrEAL fucking high on drugs.

    - Bill Hicks

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Humm.. im sure that was covered in the 3 NDAs i had to sign before i worked for the BBC.

  58. Anonymous Coward

    @drugs in politics

    ... hmmm not sure, every time i see footage of parliament there is always some MPs having a little snooze.. so whatever you people think they are taking, its not performance enhancing!

  59. Anonymous Coward

    Re even if you don't take them, drugs have enhanced your life #

    Nope, I refuse to accept your argument. The likes of Beyonce, Kanye West et 'al have most definitely not enhanced my life, I'd happily go and burn any and all of their music if I didn't think HMV would have me arrested on the spot.

  60. HFoster
    Thumb Down


    Funny how the government seeks counsel from someone on an anti-drugs crusade having landed in rehab after a decade on the old bugle. Of course, information from independent scientific advisers went out the window, but a biased point of view, even one with valid points to it, is heeded.

    I'm hoping I never move back to the UK.

  61. rick buck

    Beeb's Babe Does Cocaine in Toilet....

    Film @ 11.

    Shock Media and More Self-Aggrandizement by The Media.

    And it's a Surprise?


    it worked again.

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