Sir Trevor McDonald has escaped censure from broadcast regulator Ofcom after he called the recently-deceased comedian Bernard Manning a “fat, white bastard”.
More than 100 TV viewers complained about the item, broadcast in June on McDonald’s late-night ITV1 satirical show, News Knight.
Introducing a sequence entitled “Saudis Do The Funniest Things”, McDonald said: “Personally, I never thought of Bernard Manning as a racist comic… just a fat, white bastard”.
Ofcom received 112 complaints that the comment was inappropriate and/or racist.
In its adjudication, the regulator said McDonald’s remarks drew on Manning’s own style of humour and “it was clear from the outset … that on occasions there would be some material [in the show] that risked offending some viewers”.
Ofcom ruled: “We do not believe this specific expression went beyond the likely expectations of an audience for a satirical news-based comedy programme broadcast well after the watershed.”