We are not amused, say listeners

Listeners to BBC West Midlands switched off in their tens yesterday after weekday presenter Danny Kelly had an inappropriate remark taken more out of context than it should have been.

Kelly, 39, appeared to announce that “Queen Elizabeth II has now died” before qualifying his statement by clarifying that he was referring to a listener of the show, whose name just happened to be Queen Elizabeth II.

Unfortunately, this explanation didn’t wash with a small proportion of the listenership, including regular BBC WM listener Peter Ian: “I think that to insult your superiors in such a manner is disgusting in the extreme. OK, if it had been a homeless person or a job-seeker, you wouldn’t mind so much, but to make such a remark about the Queen is just unforgivable – I’m angry just thinking about it. Imagine how different life would be if the QUEEN were to – God forbid – CHOKE ON A PIECE OF VOMIT IN HER SLEEP, or – I can’t believe I’m even saying this – FALL OUT OF AN UPSTAIRS WINDOW. Of course, it goes without saying that you quote these remarks in the context they’re clearly intended.”

This isn’t the first time Kelly has come under fire for being taken out-of-context when it comes to Royal Family members. In December 2003, the presenter was fined £1000 after describing how he nicknamed his favourite chair “Prince Edward” and how the pattern on its seat resembled a person’s face. Several listeners switched off after he declared: “I’m knackered, folks. I think I’m gonna go home, strip down to my pants and sit on Prince Edward’s ‘face’ once this is all over”. He was also reprimanded for a remark concerning his preferred brand of cigarettes, Rothmans’ Royals. In July 2008 Mr. Kelly declared: “[the] Royals are a great collection of fags in my opinion – I won’t have a word said against them…”

Despite widespread criticism for his recent remarks, Mr. Kelly has received support from several others in his industry, with Steve Peters from Radio Solent declaring live on his “Crazy Wake-Up” show earlier today: “I can’t believe it has come to this – soon we won’t be able to say anything without SOMEONE being up-in-arms about it. I remember a few years back how a listener asked me what my favourite Smiths album was, to which I answered ‘The Queen Is Dead’, which is the automatic choice amongst Smiths aficionados. The minute I said that, the emergency tape loop of the national anthem kicked in and the Isle Of Wight was in mourning (in the morning) for several days. I’d never known anything like it. The next week, I was forced to read an on-air apology saying that I was sorry and that the best Smiths album was, in fact, ‘Hatful of Hollow’, even though everyone knows it was just a bunch of cobbled-together B-sides and live recordings. It’s unbelievable, it really is. Anyway, after the break, we’re back with Fine Young Cannibals followed by Simply Red.”

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