Page last updated at 14:09 GMT, Monday, 17 November 2008

Skinner defends art of swearing

Frank Skinner

Comedian Frank Skinner has defended swearing after a Yougov poll suggested a large proportion of viewers wanted some words banned from television.

Skinner, who is known for his foul-mouthed routines, said "beautiful, eloquent swearing" should be allowed.

But he admitted there was a possibility that there was too much swearing on TV.

The Black Country comic said when he did a recent gig without swearing he found dirty jokes worked well but other jokes were not as funny.

The poll for The Sunday Times found 30% of people believed the F-word should be banned while 55% thought the C-word should not be allowed.

Dirty material

But 49% of the viewers said there should be a place for swearing on television.

It followed calls from broadcasters such as Terry Wogan and the ITV chief executive Michael Grade for television to clean up its act.

Skinner, who grew up in Oldbury, told the Today programme he was "a massive fan of swearing".

But he said he had tried a recent gig without swearing as an experiment to freshen up his act.

He said he learned that the clean material "probably needed swearing to make it feel adult and exciting".

He added: "The quite dirty material, which some people baulked at, seemed to go better.

"People could accept the subject matter better if it hadn't got the swearing."

He said: "You know, Chaucer used swearing. It's a very time-honoured language part and shouldn't be ghettoised the way it is just because some people don't like it."

Skinner said he felt there was too much swearing on programmes such as cookery shows.

He said: "I don't want people using so much swearing that there's a blanket ban because there won't be then any room for the clever swearing, the beautiful, eloquent swearing.

"So I just think we need to back off on the stuff that's not necessary.

"But I think it's absolutely important that we keep swearing as a tool, a comic tool for television and any other area of comedy."

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