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Monday, 10 June, 2002, 06:57 GMT 07:57 UK
Tarrant cleared over Scouse joke
Chris Tarrant
Tarrant was said to have apologised after the show
A watchdog has rejected complaints that TV host Chris Tarrant went too far with a joke that said people from Liverpool were thieves.

The Independent Television Commission (ITC) received 19 complaints after a quip during the Bafta TV awards in April.

Tarrant had said there was a new reality TV series in which the 12 contestants were Scousers, and viewers would tune in to see who stole the video first.

The ITC dismissed the complaints, saying it was a variation on an old joke and not meant to damage the reputation of Merseyside.

'Not unkind'

Tarrant, also host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, was booed by some people at the awards ceremony, which he hosted.

He was reported to have phoned a Merseyside radio station to apologise afterwards.

The Sunday Mirror newspaper reported that Tarrant said: "Of course the joke wasn't intended to be unkind about Liverpool.

"I have had some of the best nights of my life there and my little boy is a number one Liverpool football fan."

But his comments were described as "outrageous stereotyping".

Boiled frog

The row came a year after the same watchdog dismissed 15 complaints against Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? for using the term "Paddy" to refer to Irish people.

The ITC has also rejected a string of complaints about a Green Party election broadcast.

The slot featured images of a frog being boiled and a drowning baby, prompting complaints about bad taste.

But the ITC said the images - which were simulated - were powerful but not gratuitous and designed to represent issues of concern to the party.

It decided that the broadcast did not breach any guidelines.

See also:

17 Apr 01 | Entertainment
22 Mar 02 | UK
01 Oct 98 | Entertainment
22 Apr 02 | Entertainment
16 Apr 01 | Wales
01 May 01 | Entertainment
31 May 99 | Entertainment
13 May 02 | Entertainment
15 Apr 02 | Entertainment
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