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Last Updated: Monday, 28 January 2008, 14:54 GMT
Satire cleared over McCann sketch
Bremner, Bird and Fortune
The programme was broadcast in October 2007
Rory Bremner's Channel 4 show has been cleared by broadcasting watchdogs after viewers complained over an "offensive" reference to missing Madeleine McCann.

Ofcom received 63 complaints over a Bremner, Bird and Fortune sketch that suggested politicians might use the disappearance to win an election.

The watchdog said it recognised the sensitivity of the subject matter.

However, it ruled that the main point of the sketch was to ridicule politicians and not the McCann family.


In the sketch, two men in a pub - played by John Bird and John Fortune - discuss some of the tactics Prime Minister Gordon Brown might use to secure his re-election.

One of the characters said: "I don't trust Gordon Brown... I wouldn't be surprised if the night before the election he went on television and said 'look what I found' and held up little Maddie McCann."

Ofcom said it considered Bremner, Bird and Fortune to be a long-established satirical series that often engaged with controversial subjects.

"The idea that politicians might be insensitive enough to attempt to exploit the tragedy surrounding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann to their advantage was consistent with the general purpose of the sketch," Ofcom said in its report.

"Whilst perhaps painful for some viewers to have been reminded of Madeleine McCann's disappearance, we concluded the suggestion that politicians might consider cynically using such an event to their advantage justified the inclusion of such a reference in this satirical sketch."

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