Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

David Mitchell defends BBC over Naga Munchetty complaints controversy

David Mitchell defended the BBC over its handling of the Naga Munchetty controversy (PA)
David Mitchell defended the BBC over its handling of the Naga Munchetty controversy (PA)

Comedian David Mitchell has defended the BBC for its recent handling of complaints against journalist Naga Munchetty, and said the corporation would be missed if it were axed.

The BBC’s director-general Lord Hall recently reversed a decision to partially uphold a complaint against the BBC Breakfast host for comments she made about US President Donald Trump.

Mitchell, who regularly appears on the BBC, said the corporation was the “envy” of the world and had done Britain an “enormous amount of good”.

“The BBC is obviously going through a difficult time. The trouble with the BBC is that the term ‘the BBC’ means so many things and to the BBC’s enemies it can mean whatever is convenient at any given time,” Mitchell said.

“The BBC is both the people that make the programmes and the bodies that say programmes shouldn’t have happened.

“The BBC is an individual producer and the BBC is the director-general.

“In the case of Naga Munchetty the BBC broadcast one thing and the BBC said it shouldn’t have, then suddenly the BBC said the BBC was wrong and should have broadcast that and the other BBC was right.

“It is a large organisation and those three letters can refer to any bit of it at any time.”

He added: “That is a problem is for the BBC. I think its existence, which is the envy of the world, has done this country and enormous amount of good.

“There is a question in these difficult political times with all sorts of anger online and financial constraints in terms of how the BBC can frankly defend itself and continue to be the institution that in my view it has always been.

“There are people criticising it from absolutely all sides at the moment but I am absolutely certain that if and when it goes we will regret it.”

Mitchell was speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival about the forthcoming publication of his latest book, Dishonesty Is The Second-Best Policy, in which he discusses Brexit, Donald Trump and the absurdity of the modern world.

He said David Cameron shouldered the blame for the divisions in the country today caused by Brexit.

“I think he has done a terrible thing for the country and is an awful prime minister,” he said.

Boris Johnson
David Mitchell was critical of Boris Johnson despite his ‘likeable’ persona (Alastair Grant/PA)

“Boris Johnson is desperate to get the record off him and to be fair to him he is giving it a good go.

“He called the referendum and thought it would go his way. I could see from his point of view it would deal with the divisions in the Tory Party.

“Let’s be clear that at the end of his huge geopolitical scheme to keep the Conservative Party united that David Cameron came up with, is the Conservative Party united?”

Mitchell said Boris Johnson had “charisma” and was “likeable”.

“The thing is he possesses other qualities which outweigh them,” Mitchell said.

“It seems to me he has no integrity at all and is a deeply dishonest, self-serving person who we can’t trust in that position of power. That’s my feeling about him.

“I think broadly speaking he is a talented performer and would be good at my job. I don’t think I would be good at his, but I am not saying I would be any worse than him.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in