Frank Skinner is one of a number of comedians to be appearing on our screen and in the press as presenters, journalists and critics. Frank has a column in The Times, discusses new films and novels on BBC Two's Newsnight Review and is now presenting tonight's edition of Panorama.
"Understandably, this has wound some people up. Janet Street-Porter, whom I must say I've always liked, suggested in her newspaper column that employing me as a presenter proved that Panorama was no longer a “heavyweight programme”. It seems the Government's call for more liberal attitudes towards social mobility is falling on deaf ears. If the show was about Gaza or the social services, I'd see Janet's point, but as it is instead about swearing and bad taste on television, getting me in has the same logic as getting Sue Barker in to do the tennis. I've been swearing and making off-colour remarks on television since 1988. I'm calling that credentials.
I remember the same dumbing-down accusations when Jo Brand first did Question Time. I think this is just comedianism. Serious TV presenters are saying stuff like: “These comedians, coming over here, taking our jobs.” And then there's the prevalence of comedianist language. What does it say about a society when words like “comedian”, “joker” and “clown” are used as insults?"
This article appeared in The Sunday Times 25th January 2009.
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