More than 100 people compained about ITV1’s satirical news programme News Knight, after host Sir Trevor McDonald made a joke about comedian Bernard Manning, who died last week.
Hosted by the former ITN newsreader, the Sunday night programme takes a sideways look at the week’s news.
Introducing an item titled ‘This week’s racist and dead’, Sir Trevor said: “This week it’s fat, narrow-minded comic Bernard Manning. I never thought he was a racist. I just thought he was a fat white bastard.”
Manning, 76, who was notorious for his politically incorrect humour, died from kidney failure.
Sir Trevor’s comments appeared to surprise his co-host Marcus Brigstocke. Later in the show, in a segment called Saudis Do The Funniest Things, Brigstocke said: “You’ve just slagged Bernard Manning off and now you’re nicking his act.”
ITV confirmed on Monday that it had received 77 complaints and Ofcom, the television regulator, said it had received 26 and would be assessing them.
Styled on the BBC’s Have I Got News For You, News Knight is 67-year-old Sir Trevor’s first foray into comedy and comes after he guest hosted an edition of the BBC show last year.
Sir Trevor chooses the items to be discussed from the week’s news by a panel of comedians.
His remark about Manning was described by the comedian Jim Bowen as ‘appalling’, and Manning’s companion Lynn Moran was said to be ‘very shocked’.
An ITV source said: “It’s a satire show. I’m sure Bernard would find the whole thing hilarious.”