back to article Sandi Toksvig puts the 'n' into cuts - on the Beeb

The BBC has defended a joke by The News Quiz presenter Sandi Toksvig which, according to the Daily Mail, may have irreparably undermined the very bedrock of decency on which Middle England stands. The quip in question was broadcast last October at 6.30pm, and once again the next day at 12.30pm. Discussing the Tories and child …


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  1. Shaun 1

    Tabloid Watch

    A good article about this here:

    Very interesting blog to read

  2. Anonymous IV

    Was it in her script?

    Since the "chairman's script" is credited to one or more scriptwriters, it probably originated there. Or maybe it was an ad-lib?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never heard of the News Quiz

    before reading this. unfortunately I've heard of Sandi Toksvig.

  4. jason 7

    As the great Dave Allen said when he swore on the Big Breakfast..

    Johnny Vaughan apologised to any children watching for Dave swearing and Dave simply looked at him surprised and said -

    "What do you mean? I learnt all those words from children!"

    Top man. Greatly missed. There does appear to be a new agenda of puritanism and stamping on anything that goes against the order of things. Maybe its a secret agenda that the establishment thinks that society is very agitated at the moment and could break bringing their reign down?


  5. EddieD

    I remember that one...

    I laughed quite considerably. My right-leaning friends were less impressed, but because of the political implications, not the vulgarity.

    Times change, standards change, values change. Looking at TV from the '60s, it seems incredibly restrained. Now most soaps have the occasional sh1t, p1ss, no-one seems to mind.

    The audience for the News Quiz are, well, Radio 4 listeners, and I doubt many of them were too upset, and Sandi played it for laughs with skill. The fact that there doesn't seem to have been a complaint I think indicates that the outrage from John Whittingdale, Conservative, Maldon is more akin to the reaction I mentioned above.

    I think a go forth and multiply is called for to this "outrage".

    All the best.

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Looking at TV from the '60s, it seems incredibly restrained...

      Did you not get "Til Death Us Do Part" round your way?

      But I guess thats a diffrent kind of offensive, and of a different kind of people.


    2. Mark 65

      Let us not forget

      A certain Fawlty Towers episode where the Colonel discusses with Basil the time he took a date to the cricket. Certain terms were used in the description of the match participants that wouldn't be acceptable now but were on broadcast tv then so attitudes certainly do change. It's not as if she even used the actually word itself it is just implied. The complainant is clearly a puritanical twunt themselves.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    I don't know.....

    Why do people find King Cnut (former King of England, Norway, Denmark and Sweden) so offensive?

    Though I didn't know he was also a Tory responsible for cuts to Daily Mail baiting scroungers and layabouts.....

    1. Jedit Silver badge

      Beats me...

      It's not a good analogy, though, as Cnut ordered the tide to go out as a demonstration to his lords that there were limits to man's power. The Tories have no such delusions of realism.

      1. YARR

        Re "The Tories have no such delusions of realism."

        Yes they've left Gordon "save the world" Brown and Barack "born on Krypton" Obama far behind.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Chris Collins

        From the 'pedia


        Cnut the Great[2] (Old Norse: Knūtr inn rīki;[3] c. 985 or 995 – 12 November 1035), also known as Canute, was a king of Denmark, England, Norway and parts of Sweden.


        Plus, you missed the joke you humourless cunt.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Down

          I stand corrected

          @ Chris Collins

          I was wrong with my Cnut history, your right. I apologise for my mistake.

          However, your language leaves a lot to be desired, Chris, I hope your phallus* drops off with rot.

          Phallus - cock to the uneducated twat.

          1. asiaseen

            Pedantically speaking

            a cock is a phallus only when it is erect.

            1. Jedit Silver badge

              Pedantically speaking...

              ... a cock is a phallus whenever it's long enough to dangle, hard or soft. You're propagating a phallusy.

        2. Mark 65

          @Chris Collins

          <-- See icon

      2. Anonymous Coward

        What, sorry you what?

        @AC 11:55

        "there are many Kings called Cnut, none of which ruled England, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden *at the same time* "

        Ah, you Pedant you.

        Who was on the throne of England in 1020 (CE or AD, its the same thing)? Where else was this person King? I think you might like to revise what nations were where and who ruled them all.

        Who said there was a link between his name and female genitalia?

        BTW - nice epic fail there.

    3. a cynic writes...

      Is it because..

      1. having gained the throne thanks to with the use of a spear, a privy and very loyal assassin he had the two face git who organised it executed? Possibly for doing it, more likely for mentioning it in public.

      2. ordering (albeit unsuccessfully) the kids of the man with a spear in his bottom executed?

      3.nicking my village off of the Bishop of London? ( According to the Domesday book, William the Bastard gave it back)

      4. being an anagram.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Truth hits home

    'Nuff said.

    1. Juillen 1


      Oh, just your opinion, therefore it must be the truth. Fair enough.

      They're politicians, which says a lot about them generically. And it's also actually true.

  8. Chris_B

    Cut it out !

    Typical response from an MP who as we all know are pushing though a load of 'cuts' right now.

    1. frank ly

      You mean......

      Typical response from a cut who ......

      (They like to think they're a cut above the rest of us but really their all cut from the same cloth. That's enough cutting wit for now.)

  9. Sarev

    Won't somebody please think of the children?

    So this is a program called "The News Quiz" on the radio, Radio 4 no less. If they had even one child listening I'd be impressed.

    1. Max Pritchard

      My sons were listening...

      ... and it went completely over their heads because of the way it was phrased. It didn't even prompt the usual flurry of questions about something they don't understand.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        The kids must be very small..

        .. if "that" went over their heads (*).

        The one with the Radio 4 podcast, thanks..

        (*) joking aside, that was the first thing I thought. If they didn't know what the joke was it would not affect them as it would indeed go over their head (I'll refrain from using the opening for rude jokes, although that was in itself a pun), if they did it would no longer be a problem. So I cannot really see the issue either.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's revenge for the Danes sleighting Marmite. Yup, two groups of loony nationalists making life less pleasant for the rest of us.

  11. g e

    Poor old Colin

    I feel so sorry for him.

    He obviously found it quite Harrowing....

    Ok. Coat got.

  12. tony72
    Thumb Up


    Sandy Toksvig made a joke that I actually find funny!

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      I thought

      it wasn't actually tremendously funny. But when they passed round a bottle of the notorious Buckfast cheap "tonic wine" (caffeinated so that when you should pass out, you don't), and apparently all got impressively quickly drunk, -that- was most terrifically funny. It's deceptively strong stuff.

      But I rather dislike the C-word when so used, partly because I gather that in the U.S. it has a different and more unpleasant secondary meaning, in the neighbourhood of "slut and/or whore". In Britain it basically means "inconsiderate", but it is provocatively rude.

      So maybe it was funnier than I felt it to be.

    2. Vic

      Re: Shocked!

      > Sandy Toksvig made a joke that I actually find funny!

      Yeah, but she nicked it from Private Eye.


  13. Vitani


    Sounds like kittens!

    1. Richard Taylor 2


      will someone please think about the kittens?

  14. Christoph

    Pretty mild

    She's been a guest panellist on "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue", which has got away with *much* worse.

    1. breakfast Silver badge

      Yes, but...

      The true master of the game was Lionel Blair...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Don't Forget...

        ...what Samantha gets up to in the record library with the (sometimes multiple) kindly old archivist!

      2. Roger Varley

        Lionel Blair

        Sorry - Lionel Blair was the master of "Give us a Clue". It was ISIHAC that gave us such gems as

        "OK, let's try something else...anything else. The next game is a quickie round giving ample time for the teams to give vent to their full acting range. It's called Sound Charades, and it's played in tribute to that great TV show Give Us A Clue, where the players conveyed a film title without speaking and within a strict time limit. The undisputed mime maestro was, of course, Lionel Blair, & who can forget the look of relish on his face when he was given two minutes on The African Queen?!"

    2. John G Imrie

      I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue

      Colin Harrow, really must lessen to more I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, where Samantha tells me she has to go now as she's off to the country residence of her new gentleman friend, who has some interesting birds in the thicket. He keeps a young chicken, but Samantha says there are also wild breeds there, and she can't wait to see his Woodcock, Pullet and Swallow.

    3. Richard Large

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      I was about to come out with the same thing - I remember Humphrey Lyttleton doing a similar joke with exactly the same outcome about Scunthorpe.

      1. Dave Bell

        Scunthorpe is infamous

        The Scunthorpe joke most be nearly as old as the town--it used to be five seperate villages--and I would be unsurprised if Max Miller was responsible.

        As for Sandi Toksvig, the style of the joke is typical of her, depending on ingenious use of language and a certain verbal facility on the part of the audience. Not everyone is equipped to appreciate her cunning...

        I'll get my coat. It's the one with the blue book in the pocket.

        1. Is it me?

          For those not old enough...

          If Typhoo put the T in Britain who put the S in .....

          It's so old I was a primary school when I heard it, and yes I knew the word, was naughty, just not what it meant.

    4. Norm DePlume


      Very slightly different, but Ronnie Barker - Rindercella. Standards were clearly very different back then.

      (I don't think it was the only time he did dodgy spoonerisms either.)

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      Absolutely. I recently re-listened to a few years worth of ISIHAC episodes and once or twice was surprised by what they get away with. I don't think Sandi's joke would even mildly offend the lovely Samantha.

    6. Eponymous Cowherd
      Thumb Up

      And we needn't mention.....

      some of the lovely Samantha's antics with her various gentlemen friends on ISIHAC.

  15. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse
    Thumb Down

    Perhaps if the BBC...

    Whilst I agree that there are some terms that can be used in a humerous manner at an early hour, that particular word (IMHO) in no way has lost any shock value over recent years and is no way suitable for ANY hour of the day over broadcast media, or in any other aspect of life for that matter. In fact it is the only word that when used in conversation will make me firmly take issue with the user of it.

    And to the BBC : If it has lost this "shock value" then why aren't you broadcasting it more often?

    Perhaps if the BBC spent less time broadcasting shit, and concentrated more on quality then this country wouldn't be going down the pan in terms of how we all talk to one another in a respectful manner.

    1. Alex McDonald 1

      I'm assuming heavy irony here...

      ...since you managed a sh1t in something the children might read. Either that, or you're an inconsistent daft laddie.

    2. Ted Treen

      Well said.

      Well expressed and unfortunately true.


      You deserve one Sir (or Madam) for a succinct truism.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh gosh

      it's A WORD. A combination of sounds. You're shocked by it? Then I envy your life cause you don't know what shock is.

      Should BBC use it casually? Probably not, because of people like you. Should they be penalized for it, should anyone really care? I think not.

      Get a life.

    4. cyborg

      I find your use of the word "shit" shocking

      I demand that my arbitrary choice of ranking of offensive phenome groups be given the proper respect it deserves.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        I find your use of the word "shit" shocking

        Ah just FCUK of and get a life

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      why aren't you broadcasting it more often?

      They do. It was recently used on the Today show in an item about a Tory minister

    6. Roger Varley

      Perhaps if the BBC

      According to Merriam-Webster on-line so "that particular word" as you put it has been around since the 14th century. Since it has survived in more or less common parlance since then I don't think an attention-seeking MP and a few linguistically anal moralists are going to have much of an effect.

    7. Falanx

      ...Ignored people like you

      I find throwing a wobblie about the slip in moral fibre against your ephemeral and mostly-historically-inaccurate behavioural standards works very much better if you abide by your own cobbled-together standards.

      Also, probably because as the BBC are aware, words with lots of 'e's are far more common.

      'Humorously'. And the 'H' is redundant, unless you're often given to spouting opinions you only pretend to hold.

      I take exception to people taking exception to my choice of words. Words only have their power, contrary to V, because their speakers give them such.

      1. nyelvmark


        >>I find throwing a wobblie about the slip in moral fibre against your ephemeral and mostly-historically-inaccurate behavioural standards works very much better if you abide by your own cobbled-together standards.

        What do we think?

    8. lpopman

      titular cnut anagram

      You put the 'D' in ick.

      Words are words, language is language. It should be celebrated for it's diversity rather than being censored.

    9. Greg J Preece

      It's a word, get a sense of perspective

      A word on its own can't hurt you, you fool.

      CUNT! Anyone's ears bleeding? Skies falling? Nope? OK then...

      Words are given impact by context, not spelling. Restricting what someone can say, or even imply, based on some puritan notion of there being "special words" is ridiculous at best, and marks you out as being quite narrow-minded and fragile.

      By the way, I take great offence at the usage of the word "respectful", in any context, when used in conversation with me. As a result, I demand you remove the above post from the forums. Wouldn't want to be disrespectful now, would you? Think of the children!

    10. Anonymous Coward

      Shock Horry

      I find you use of the word Broadcasting offensive and shocking in this context.

      I find the disrespectful manner in which you discuss the BBC to be equally offensive and you, sir, are singlehandedly contributing to the decline of this once great nation and its empire.

      I also find the fact that you have alluded to a word you havent actually used to be mortally offensive and not something that can be tolerated. Just because you havent put "twat" in words in your post doesnt mean I cant be offended by the twattish nature of your post.

      Please cease immediately and issue a formal apology (obviously ensuring it is in a manner that will offend absolutely no one).

    11. Florcz


      Chill out you daft cunt

    12. Naughtyhorse

      recent years...

      So wouldl these years be more or less recent than the years when threadneedle st was known as grab cunt lane?

      just asking.

      mines the one with a punnet of 'peaches' in the pocket

    13. Chris Hainey

      Point still missed...

      From what I heard on this, no offensive words were ACTUALLY said, other than "Tory".

      Simply implying a word or using suggestive innuendo is not, and never will be swearing.

      It was said with humorous intent and worked. Obviously the Daily Hate and Fear reader has had their statutory sense of humour bypass completed and the overwhelming sense of moral outrage translplanted instead.

      Also, the absurdity of your use of Shit in a post complaining about the shock value iof a word which was not said defies all logic.


      1. Anonymous Coward

        Dear Chris Hainey

        "Tory" is quite an offensive word and Sandy Toskvig should be truly chastised for using it.

        What else could she be getting punished for?

        1. Chris Hainey

          Sandi Toksvig could be punished for

          Not sure, but I'm pretty sure there have been a few naff jokes over the years worthy of groaning complaint

  16. BoldMan


    So let me get this straight, she didn't actually SAY the word, just alluded to it... Some people need to get a sense of proportion. Silly twats!

    1. Richard 116

      Not only that...

      ...but she didn't say it last October!

      Lets see how many complaints Bel Mooney and the Daily Mail can whip up. From people who clearly didn't even hear the broadcast.


    2. SuperTim

      She didn't allude to any specific word

      Saying there is an N in Cuts means that the letter N could appear anywhere in that word. It is the filthy mind of Mr Harrow that created the rude word in his head, so he is actually complaining about his own dirty mind!

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Not offended

    .. but only cos I didn't watch the program and wouldn't, given a choice. Might have something to do with the fact that I find her offensive no matter what she says.

    1. Joel 1

      Not observent either

      Well, I suppose you could watch a Radio 4 program with an oscilloscope, but I would think that there would be greater comprehension from listening to it....

      See you next Tuesday....

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        @Joel 1: He might have been in the audience!

        Nuff said.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Joel 1 & Peter Gathercole

          Bugger, I'm embarassed by the blunder. For some reason my brain didn't react properly to the word "listeners". So it was a radio programme - even less likely to upset children then.

          And no PG - I wasn't in the audience. Might have been confused if I was, since I obvioulsy thought it was a telly programme.

  18. TheOtherHobbbes


    using a bad word in public - ZOMGWTFBBQHALP!

    Throwing millions out of work, making a good percentage destitute, destroying access to higher education, trying to remodel the NHS for the personal benefit of one's banker chums, and generally using every excuse possible to punch poor people in the face - perfectly fine.

    And good luck with *that.*

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Off topic, surely?

      What have Gorson Brown's Labour government got to do with this?

      On a serious note, what a bunch of silly cuts.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      In their defence

      ...*everyone* is getting a punch in face (looks closesly at *all* his domestic & fuel bills and pending tax return), not just 'the poor'.

      Mind you, if you're a tory, "poor people" does actually mean "everyone else but me".

      re: higher ed: The universites have some responsibility here too - just 'cos the gov say they can up their fee limits to £9,000, doesn't mean they had or need to. But guess what they all went and did anyway?

      Any guesses what the councils will do when the current cap on increases is removed, and the 'new' cap is announced? Anyone?

      Anyone seen what the rail companies do with their caps? Your 6-10% annual increase is no accident or one-off either.

      1. Dave 15

        punch drunk

        If you are paid 10million a year knowing the tax payer will cover any mistake I guess you probably don't give a moneys about the fuel bill - its probably your speculation activities that have pushed the prices up anyway.

        The idiot that thought that a university was going to offer a 'cut price' course and try and pretend it was as wonderful as the next door uni's expensive one should step down as the incompetent idiot they are. However they won't. Of course if students are prepared to pay the ludicrous fee instead of getting a job, and the idiots in HR departments all over this country put 'must have upper 2 or better' on every advert - even for the toilet cleaner - I guess we get where we are. (BTW, am I the only one that stops any conversation about a job when they are asked what level of degree they got 25 years back?) We should have apprentices again - people who learn what REALLY happens not the theory (ScrumIT ran a software apprenticeship until the government decided it would rather give Microsoft billions to reinvent the wheel we were already using).

        Council tax - should just be abolished. If I paid for my council through my income tax then it would be cheaper. If the central government funded councils by a direct grant based on the number of people then my democratic choice is to decide how the money is spent, but we would all save because there would be no bill printing, no debate about how much and less accountants.

        As to the various monopolies created by Thatcher, well, you are ok if you are a shareholder seeing the money flow in, but for the majority of us seeing the prices increasing 20% a time it just isn't funny.

        I'm feeling a bit punch drunk about the stupidity of the leaders (from both parties) who seem unable to put brain in gear before letting their mouths flap - probably because they are all working out how to make more from the expenses system and ignoring the real job.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    slight related ...

    does anyone remember that US state which banned people having "WTF" as a car registration after some coucillor was told "what it meant" ?

  20. Danny 14
    Thumb Up

    Cnut eh?

    Wasnt Cnut a king of england at some point?

    1. philbo

      I thought he was

      Knig of Dnemark, Egnland, Nroway and half of Sweden

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sadly for the tories

    The truth often hurts.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Radio 4 comedy

    Is the best and a lot of the best stuff that ends up on TV, starts there. Sandy's words are mostly scripted. That cuts line sounded like it was part of the script. Implied swearing isn't swearing. As they say in defence of the other comedy "I'm Sorry, I haven't a Clue", the rudeness is all in the mind of the listener. Clean mind, no offence.

  23. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. DP 1

    Daily (Hate) Mail

    That URL is hilarious. Much funnier than the gag everyone is so upset about.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Quite. It takes a special kind of paranoia when you have to *know* the word that isn't even spoken to get 'offended'.

    "Nottingham - It's well documented in official records that the city's original name was "Snottingham" or "home of Snotts", but when the Normans came, they couldn't pronounce the initial letter "S", so decreed the town be called "Nottingham" or the "home of Notts". It's easy to understand why this change was resisted so fiercely by the people of Scunthorpe. "

  26. Ally J

    The late John Peel

    referred to Big Country as 'putting the tree in Country' on Top of the Pops (yes, that long ago) without causing ripples. While it's not a word I like, or think I should be hearing on the radio at 6:30 in the evening, it was a veiled allusion and not bellowing it out in a bid to be funny.

    I listened to the programme and it sailed over my head - I didn't even know the joke had been in there until reading this article.

  27. SpeakerToAliens
    Big Brother

    This obviously caused political rather personal affront.

    Stephen Fry told this joke on "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue" in the game "Uxbridge Dictionary" (where you give new definitions for words) a while ago:-

    "Countryside" - "Killing Piers Morgan".

    Nobody complained then.

    1. Eponymous Cowherd
      Thumb Up

      Uxbridge dictionary....

      Rancour : What Scooby really thinks of Shaggy

      Chauffeur : What Paris Hilton does when getting out of a car.

      Laminate : What a ram does to a ewe.

      Sexual : Proposition from Louisiana prostitute.

      1. James Hughes 1

        Took a few seconds

        But that Scooby/Shaggy one is excellent.

  28. phuzz Silver badge


    Can I write to Ofcom and say that I thought a particular swearword was an entirely appropriate joke and should be broadcast?

    Also, what are music stations supposed to do when the band name or song title contains a swear word? (eg the band 'Fuck Buttons', who 6 Music have to refer to as 'Eff Buttons').

    1. Naughtyhorse


      and who dosent feel sorry for tv continuity announces telling you that "bleep my dad says" is about to start

  29. Miek


    I don't care. The people "Offended" by such a remark are devoid of any intellectual humour and such should be bundled in with those that put the 'n' in to 'Cuts'. I vote to lock these idiots in the sin bin along with the 'Cuts' that dreamt up having Traffic Lights on Roundabouts.

  30. Phil Standen

    Like a superinjunction

    Is this like a super injunction? You can't say the word, or say that the word exists? or even say you can't say the word exists?

    Or has Sandi also been at it with Imogen Thomas?

  31. Anonymous Coward

    What do you mean, "required"?

    My assumption was that this referred to the silliness of King Cnut's attempt to turn back the tide. Cnut, if I remember rightly, shared a nationality with Sandi Toksvig.

    OK, I'm going ...

  32. Mike Tyler

    The Daily Mail!!

    It's not as if she actually said the word, I don't suppose any children said "Daddy why is that joke funny" and needed it spelling out. The only people offended were those who had already seen the joke on "Mock the Week" and those who know the word and can spell it. As someone who works in the public sector, I think it's a fair comment. Let's face it the only reason Cameron and Clegg want to make sure the Pound is a strong currency is because they have so many of them. The Cuts are for them not for the man on the Clapham Omnibus

  33. mhoulden

    No win situation

    Presumably if TNQ had been censured, the Daily Wail would just come up with something about nanny state censorship. "Woman doesn't swear on radio" isn't exactly ground-breaking news. Paul Dacre isn't immune to swearing himself:

  34. Anonymous Coward

    stupid tory cut

    What a masterbater. Silly tory cut.

  35. Nipsirc

    Something like this...

    ...will go over the heads of any children below a certain age anyway. My children (7 & 9) listen to the News Quiz, and a joke like that they wouldn't understand. They don't really know who Tories are.

    Seriously though - I'd much rather the use of swearing was kept to allusion rather than just blurting it out - I know Radio 4 audiences are expected to be able to handle a certain amount of foul language, but it does make it difficult when I want to introduce my kids to some good comedy. Apart from anything it gets bloody annoying when one of the sprogs keeps saying '''oooh, did you hear the man on the radio? He just said a swear word..." Very tedious.

  36. Captain TickTock

    She forgot to mention:

    There's plenty of "F" in cuts these days.

    Now which "F" in coat is mine?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There is no "I" in team...

      ... and there is no "F" in management

      1. Jared Hunt

        The old ones are the best ones...

        ... now you owe my whole team new keyboards!

      2. Vic

        Re: There is no "I" in team

        I once very nearly got sacked, despite already having handed in my notice.

        For the umptyeth time, my boss trotted out his favourite platitude: "There is no 'I' in team".

        I'd already quit. I didn't care any more. I finally said what I'd been thinking all those months.

        "No, but there's a 'U' in 'cunt'"


  37. Big Al


    This will mean cutns for her career!

    Ok, ok, getting it already...

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Didn't Kenny Everett

    do a sketch on the radio back in the early 80s which went along the lines of:

    "I'm a country member."

    "Yes, I'll remember."

    Not to mention his most famous chacter of all, Cupid Stunt.

    Can't believe people are getting offended by a little word-play 30 years later.

  39. Pete Wood

    I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue

    Wasn't it on ISIHAC that Steven Fry was asked to provide a definition of the word "Countryside" and replied "Killing Piers Morgan" ?

    If people want to be outraged, they'll always find a way to be so. Toksvig's joke may not be the cleverest bit of wordplay in the world, but it's better than no wordplay at all, and wordplay is at the heart of a lot of the best humour on Radio 4....

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Kenny did something a little different,...

    "when we were a kingdom we were ruled by a king,

    now we're a country we're ruled by Margaret Thatcher."

  41. Tom Wood

    Even Shakespeare

    wrote of "country matters".

    And they teach Hamlet in schools!

    1. nyelvmark

      Chaucer, too

      ... and he actually puts the word "cunt" into the mouth of one of his Canterbury Tales characters. Chaucer does, as I recall, apologise to his readers for the coarse language, but it isn't clear whether he's referring to this word or to others.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    TV standards

    Mooney should be more concerned with the fact that X Factor is mindless, dumbed-down, exploitative shite than fretting over a mildly raunchy dance routine.

    Kind of like complaining about the band is playing out of tune as the Titanic sinks beneath the waves....

  43. jimbarter
    Thumb Up

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    What a cunning stunt.

  44. Jim 59

    Don't know

    Words are important and so are the rules governing what time the BBC can use them. It's no good pretending that censorship does not, or should not exist. It does, and the guidelines are in place uitimately for everone's benefit.

    I am not sure how cases like this should be treated - where the word is said indirectly. Clearly it is much less offensive that just saying the C word . If Ms Toksvig had done that, she would have been sacked or reprimanded pretty quickly.

    1. Vic

      Re: Don't know

      > so are the rules governing what time the BBC can use them

      And what are those rules for radio programmes?

      Seriously - look it up. You might be surprised...


    2. nyelvmark

      @Jim 59

      >>It's no good pretending that censorship does not, or should not exist. It does, and the guidelines are in place uitimately for everone's benefit.

      You are Bashar al-Assad and I claim my free eye test.

  45. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    After you write a comment there, THEN they tell you that you have to register.

    What a bunch of Jeremy-Hult-the-Counture-Secretaries.

    Anyway: According to Google "Colin Harrow, who lives in Thackthwaite near Cockermouth, is a finalist in this year's Elderly Accommodation Council's Art Awards", but I think it may be a different person. But if that was my address, I wouldn't draw attention to it.

  46. Havin_it

    If I had a child...

    ...who actually voluntarily listened to The News Quiz (or R4 in general) I'd be unlikely to worry about them degenerating into an atavistic foul-mouthed TWOCer; probably more that they'd soon start winning the typical parent-child political arguments by out-reasoning me.

    PS why is nobody else using the obvious icon here? Too obvious?

  47. Anonymous John

    If it's good enough for Shakespeare.


    Do you think I meant country matters?


    I think nothing, my lord.


    That's a fair thought to lie between maids' legs.

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: If it's good enough for Shakespeare.

      You're bard.

      (Verr good.)

    2. John G Imrie

      Ah Shakespeare

      My English teacher had a great way of getting us involved with the bard.

      His opening remarks where along the lines of.

      No we have to do Shakespeare, people will have told you that he is boring. The thing to remember is, any thing you think is rude in Shakespeare is, and every thing you don' t think is rude will be after you complete this years course.

  48. Just Thinking


    Surely, like antibiotics, overuse of a swear word breeds immunity and the word eventually loses its value.

    We have to keep some words in reserve for when something really needs swearing about.

  49. The Alpha Klutz

    If you can't get a life,

    at least stop dodging the grave.

    The young productive members of society would like to run things for a change.

    we put the "you are" into "you are a cunt"

  50. aBloke FromEarth

    contradiction much?

    "one of the reasons why this word has lost its shock value is that it is now being used on television and radio."

    So, if it's lost its shock value, why is he shocked?

  51. Anonymous Coward

    Retired newspaper executive

    But from what newspaper? My money is on the Wail itself or the Torygraph.

    The whole "BBC is a lefist propaganda vehicle" campaign by the right wing press is starting to annoy me. As if none of these programs ever satirised any Labour politician or policy during the last administration. Really, was I just imagining all the "Blair is a liar" "Brown is ugly and useless" gags from HIGNFY, Mock the Week, TNQ and the rest?

    Pish, you're in power now suck it up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      no post required.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        RE: Gags

        Yes gags, you know humorous remarks made to provoke amusement in the audience. Presumably it works as HIGNFY pulls in 5+ million viewrs regularly which is more than the Wail and the Torygraph put together I believe.

        You may not find these programs funny, but you know what. TOUGH. Really debating peoples taste in humour is totally futile. If you don't like it don't watch/listen to it, but feel free to take your patronising "oh it's just not funny" tone and stick it up your cuts.

  52. Natalie Gritpants

    "That word is way out in front"

    Doesn't know his biology - way out in front is cock

  53. Slim Chance

    And it's all in the best possssssssssssssible taste

    Kenny Everett as Cupid Stunt.

    Coat please!

    1. HaplessPoet

      I remember this from Capt Kremin

      Is that Hortense over there

      No she looks quite relaxed.....

    2. SpeakerToAliens

      And it's all in the best possssssssssssssible taste

      Damn! you beat me too it!

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bunch of cuts

    What's the Daily Mail got to do with the middle class? Unless you go for all that "lower middle class" bollocks which is just a shortcut to saying "successful working class without tertiary education".

    The middle classes read the Times, Telegraph and the Guardian. And the Guardian has published the word "cunt" more than once.

    1. Ted Treen

      If the Grauniad really has...'s odds on it meant to publish "aunt", "hunt", "punt" or anything else vaguely similar...

      And might I add that I haven't read such snobbish patronising bollocks in one hell of a long time

  55. Anonymous John

    The title is required, and must cuntain letters and/or digits.

    As I understand it there was only one complaint. You can't count the Mail s the never pass up a chance to bash the BBC.

    Why should the opinion of one single prude carry so much weight?

  56. Andy 61


    Anyway, it's not the Tories who put the n in cuts, it was the BBC when their presenters were discussing Jeremy Hunt, Culture Secretary (if memory serves correctly - which is rare these days) ;)

    1. Dave 15


      Probably the most accurate thing said on BBC for years

  57. Baudwalk

    What as silly bunt

    The over-sensitive whiner. Not Toksvig.


    Fellow Dane and regular News Quiz listener.

  58. disgruntled yank

    Middle England

    The BBC broadcasts in Middle English?

  59. Simon Westerby 1


    What a load of stupid cuts...

  60. mric

    Of course kids heard it

    I was listening with my wife and three children aged 5,7 and 11. The 11 year old is wise enough to know not to ask about words like that, and the other two are too young to have noticed it. Even if one of them had raised the point, I would have been happy to explain.

    What's the problem?

  61. This post has been deleted by its author

  62. Anonymous Coward

    Tis not the first time...

    A couple of years back Jeremy Hardy was answering a question on the 'youth of today' and advocated the use of Childrens Unique Numerical TagS as a way of keeping track of them - however, no one on the programme or in the audience appeared to notice :o)

  63. Big_Boomer

    Bubble Wrap

    So, there are all these 8 year olds wondering why all the words that they hear every day at school, and frequently from their parents, are nearly never heard on TV, unless it's from one of Dad's badly acted naked people videos that he keeps in that box on top of his wardrobe.

    Censors are all backwards stnuc.

  64. Anonymous John

    I wonder what the Mail thinks of this limerick.

    There was a young lady from Bude

    Who went for a swim in the lake

    A man in a punt

    Stuck his pole up her nose

    You can't do that here, it's not allowed.

  65. Sam Therapy

    The origins of "bad" language

    Can be traced back to the days when the ruling elite used Latin and French in preference to the "common" language of the people. Therefore, certain short words, often of German and/or Scandinavian origin were looked on as the mark of an uneducated person.

    There's nothing inherently wrong with any word and the sooner people realize this the better.

  66. VulcanV5

    Sexually repressed.

    One of the most powerful -- if not the most powerful -- words in the English language, that to which it relates is also one of the most powerful -- if not the most powerful -- features of human anatomy. The sexually repressed, of whom there must be millions (including every Daily Mail reader) are only "shocked" by the word because they're "shocked" by sex.

  67. Nick Carter
    IT Angle

    Boring technical solution

    Perhaps digital broadcasting of pre-recorded, edited programmes could have each part flagged with appropriate age restriction tags. So when a not-suitable-for-children gag comes along then it is given the relevant tag. Parents (or any other listener) could then configure their digital tuner so that the joke is replaced by a long bleep.

    ps. Wasn't it Billy Connelly who described a Country singer as "putting the cunt into country"? I think it was in the Secret Policeman's Ball.

    pps. Mike Harding said in an aside that he thought Kenny Everett said "Lets bomb the Russians" - thought he'd misheard the word 'bomb'.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Winter draws on...

    Banned by the BBC in the old "blue book"

    Double entendres, puns, euphamisms and innuendo are all effective comedic techniques. Far funnier to make the audience work out the word play than to just use the implied word.

    And you can only work it out if you know it, in which case what's the problem?

    Comedy scripts on the whole are fast moving and it's not unusual to miss the odd punch line whether that be because it was drowned out by audience reaction, lost in poor diction/accent of the performer or you've not had the necessary thinking time. There are occasions when I'll replay a fragment of comedy program to get a second chance at a joke. Sometimes a "slow burning" joke can lodge in your mind for hours before the enlightenment dawns.

    Using the "forbidden" words is just a lazy way to a quick but insincere laugh, and the laugh comes largely because of the "shock" value. Over use of the forbidden words devalues them. I remember shocking my team at work when I said "oh shit". They were shocked not at the term itself but at hearing it from a respectable, polite elderly gentleman who would not normally use such a term. Think how much power that gives me should I need to express myself even more forcefully, I still have a couple of words in reserve!

    By reserving the offensive words for rare and extreme occasions they become nuclear bombs, use them all the time and they become pea-shooters.

    A couple of years ago Frank Skinner experimented with eliminating swearwords from his comedy performances - and it works, he's a funny guy (OK YMMV) and doesn't need the swearing.

    As has been said there are dozens of precedents and times change. Several UK towns had street names like "Grope C***" Street/lane renamed as things like Grape Street in 19th century.

    I know a teacher who works as a supply teacher meaning he often gets the "problem" classes who have no respect for teachers and less for supply teachers. He says he sometimes takes a Shakespear quote and asks them what they think it means, often an emboldened yob will shout it out and be taken aback to be told "Yes! well done exactly right". The yob's cheap laugh is disarmed, he feels at the same time slightly pleased at the approval but also made to look a little foolish for thinking he'd get a laugh at the teacher's expense.

    And let's not forget "What a silly bunt..." said in a Python sketch by the guy who explained that he couldn't say the letter C so substituted it with B.

  69. JeffyPooh

    Where do I complain about the Daily Mail?

    I'm afraid I have to repeat it to make the point, so here it comes: <<I’m afraid I have to repeat it to make the point, so here it comes: ‘It’s the Tories who have put the “n” into cuts.’>>

    10 GOTO 10

  70. Dave 15

    kids listening to the news quiz

    That would be the day, they are generally far too busy playing video games involving rape,murder, hacking bits off each other, killing in unpleasant ways....

    I think the only reason the 'minister' was complaining is the very accurate description of the tories and their cuts. (with or without the n)

    BTW I'm not a labour or lib supporter either, I look at the destruction caused to this country by both labour and conservative administrations since ww2 and think they all are the 5 letter version of cuts.

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