Catherine Tyldesley’s BBC show causes controversy for Savile joke


Note: The following article contains discussion of sexual misconduct that some readers may find upsetting.

Strictly Come Dancing star Catherine Tyldesley’s new BBC series is already causing some controversy… and it’s only just premiered!

The former Coronation Street actress returns to the small screen opposite Jason Manford in BBC One’s Scarborough, a new sitcom from Benidorm‚s Derren Litten that premiered on Friday (September 6).

The two leads play a recently-reconciled couple who share a love of karaoke, with the first episode revolving around Mike (Manford) having to explain why Karen (Tyldesley) caught him drunkenly kissing another woman.



It seems like a pretty benign premise for a sitcom comedy, but the episode generated some complaints on social media for a joke about the prolific child abuser Jimmy Savile.

During a scene where Mike was talking through his romantic problems with best pal Bigsy (Peep Show’s Steve Edge), the two had an extensive conversation about the disgraced DJ.

Scarborough: Jason Manford and Steve Edge


„Jimmy Savile had the right idea,” Bigsy blurted out, with a shocked Mike immediately asking: „Sorry?”

„About women,” Bigsy continued. „He used to call them brain damaged.”

After glancing around to make sure no-one heard him, Mike admonished his friend: „Wow, of all the people you could quote on relationship advice, you’re giving me Jimmy Savile! Even for you, that’s off the grid.”

Scarborough: Jason Manford and Steve Edge


The jokes didn’t stop there, as Bigsy got in one more reference to Jim’ll Fix It having a „cracking theme tune”. Not all viewers found an extended series of jokes about Saville to be funny, with some complaining:

(note: NSFW tweets)

The extent of former Top of the Pops and Jim’ll Fix It presenter Savile’s decades of prolific abusive behaviour were publicly uncovered only after his death, with the outcry leading to the police investigation known as Operation Yewtree.

Maybe Scarborough should stick to lighter topics next week?

The series continues next Friday (September 13) at 9.30pm on BBC One.

Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct. If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.

Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.

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