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October 12, 2005

BBC host apologizes after guest swears on air

Bbc_5The BBC morning show "Breakfast" was well into a segment about "child-rearing and whether parents were giving in too easily to their youngsters' demands" last Tuesday when things went a bit wrong. Deborah Orr, a columnist with The Independent, said the word "fuck"while talking about children who swear. Lovely.
One of the hosts apologized to viewers at the end of the segment. The BBC's NewsWatch site has an article up about the incident:

...Breakfast editor David Kermode told NewsWatch: "That language was totally inappropriate and I reiterate the apology we had on air.
"We do screen guests but it's based on an assessment of the risk and Deborah Orr, the columnist who uttered that particular word, is someone that we've spoken to quite frequently.
"She's well versed in television and in what is and is not acceptable. It was a slip, a very unfortunate slip on her part. We had already spoken to her about the item, but it never for a moment occured to us that she would use bad language.
"I've spoken to her again - one of my colleagues spoke to her after the incident itself - and she is extremely sorry about what she said. She is well aware that it rather undermined the point she was trying to make about bad language."
The use of bad language on live news programmes is not a common occurence, and dealing with it requires swift decisions.
"We didn't intervene immediately to apologise because in my own experience that can make matters much worse," explained David Kermode.
"Had she launched into a tirade of foul language we would have been obliged to do that. As it was, the presenters felt that the best thing to do was to apologise at the end."
But he didn't agree that the apology was insincere. "I think it was pretty sincere," he said. "It's very, very hard to do that without then compounding the problem."
And will Deborah Orr be returning to the Breakfast sofa?
"There are no plans at the moment to invite Deborah back," said David Kermode, "but she's not someone who habitually swears on television so there's not a ban either."

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