British comedy is being restrained and eroded by the "Victorian moral code" of political correctness, a senior figure at the BBC has said.
Shane Allen, who is the broadcasting corporation's Controller Comedy Commissioner, has suggested that Britain's proud comedic traditions were being savaged on social media by people who manage to find ways to be offended all of the time.
As a result, Mr Allen is developing a British Comedy Foundation which will be used to endorse the genre to make people aware of what entertainment purpose it serves, as well as to find new faces for the British comedy scene.
"We live in an age where social media can bring comic material to people out of context and without traditional audience expectations having been set," Mr Allen said in an interview with Broadcast magazine.
"This means a handful of comments or opinions can quickly be taken out of context, which is damaging for a genre which is there to test boundaries and challenge orthodoxies," Mr Allen reportedly added.
Shane Allen, Controller of BBC Comedy, today announces a new venture to develop a British Comedy Foundation. — https://t.co/T1LREB2tz7 — - #BBC #BBCComedy #BritishComedyFoundation pic.twitter.com/xJnOQTfWGC— Ray Knight Casting (@RKCasting) 11 April 2019
Mr Allen is not the only one to point out the corrosive effect that political correctness is having on comedy. Many working in the industry are said to feel that they can no longer write with freedom due to fears over causing offence to politically sensitive viewers, and even try to avoid penning material that may invite unwarranted accusations of bigotry, racism or sexism.
Mr Allen's pronouncements come on the heels of continued criticism of the BBC for having too many white and well off people working for it, while not allegedly not employing enough people from so-called ‘BAME' background. ‘BAME' stands for ‘black, Asian, and minority ethnic people.'
Mr Allen added in his interview with Broadcast magazine that, "I want to explore what a comedy foundation might look like, who it could unearth, what it could achieve and who'd get behind it. I want it to be valued as an art form and for arts body funding to be opened up to benefit comedy."
In one of the most recent incidents at the end of March 2019, the BBC was accused of "cultural colonialism" after it aired a drama set in Wales in which most of the characters were played by English actors and actresses.
Welsh parliamentary party Plaid Cymru's Shadow Minister for International Affairs, Delyth Jewell, reportedly said of the programme that, "this form of cultural colonialism does a great disservice to Wales. Not only do licence fee payers have to suffer appalling TV that bears no relation to their lived experience, but our incredibly rich pool of creative talent is being shunned."