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QI reveals the bizarre BBC guidelines followed in the 1940s

The BBC’s long-running comedy quiz show QI has revealed the bizarre and strict guidelines issued by the broadcaster in the 1940s.

During its new series, starting tonight at 9pm on BBC Two, it explains how the corporation ditched vulgar references to honeymoon couples, chambermaids, and fig leaves.

In an exclusive clip for FEMAIL, presenter Sandi Toksvig also reveals that the word ‘basket’ was banned in the BBC’s variety policy guide for writers and producers.

The BBC¿s long-running comedy quiz show QI has revealed the bizarre and strict guidelines issued by the broadcaster in the 1940s. Pictured left to right: Phil Jupitus, Alan Davies, Sandi Toksvig, John Barrowman, Aisling Bea

The BBC¿s long-running comedy quiz show QI has revealed the bizarre and strict guidelines issued by the broadcaster in the 1940s. Pictured left to right: Phil Jupitus, Alan Davies, Sandi Toksvig, John Barrowman, Aisling Bea

The BBC’s long-running comedy quiz show QI has revealed the bizarre and strict guidelines issued by the broadcaster in the 1940s. Pictured left to right: Phil Jupitus, Alan Davies, Sandi Toksvig, John Barrowman, Aisling Bea

She tells panellists Alan Davies, John Barrowman, Phil Jupitus and Aisling Bea: ‘In the late 1940s they issued something called the BBC’s variety policy guide for writers and producers.

‘It became known as the green book and it was what was acceptable for broadcasting.

‘There was an absolute ban on jokes regarding lavatories, effeminacy in men, immorality of any kind and any suggestive references to honeymoon couples, chambermaids and fig leaves.’

Sandi added: ‘The use of the word “basket2 must be avoided and suggestive references to ladies underwear, so things like “winter draws on” – you couldn’t say that.

‘And it conceded that references to Noah was sometimes permissible but it added that since there is seldom anything to be gained by them and since they can engender much resentment they are best avoided all together.

John Barrowman, Alan Davies, Sandi Toksvig, Phil Jupitus, Aisling Bea as they appear on tonight's new series of QI on BBC Two

John Barrowman, Alan Davies, Sandi Toksvig, Phil Jupitus, Aisling Bea as they appear on tonight's new series of QI on BBC Two

John Barrowman, Alan Davies, Sandi Toksvig, Phil Jupitus, Aisling Bea as they appear on tonight’s new series of QI on BBC Two 

In an exclusive clip for FEMAIL, presenter Sandi Toksvig (pictured) reveals that the word 'basket' was banned in the BBC's variety policy guide for writers and producers

In an exclusive clip for FEMAIL, presenter Sandi Toksvig (pictured) reveals that the word 'basket' was banned in the BBC's variety policy guide for writers and producers

In an exclusive clip for FEMAIL, presenter Sandi Toksvig (pictured) reveals that the word ‘basket’ was banned in the BBC’s variety policy guide for writers and producers

‘You couldn’t make jokes about solicitors, miners or the working class,’ she explained. ‘Particularly, you could not make any joke about a specific Irish family called The McGillycuddy of the Reeks.’

Sandi said: ‘Apparently several jokes have been made about them and they took offence and even now we should not be amused by them.’ 

QI returns tonight for its eighteenth series and will see a host of new and returning panellists join Sandi and Alan each week.

QI (short for Quite Interesting) uses a new letter of the alphabet each series – with the show exploring topics headed up under R this time around. 

Speaking ahead of the new series, Sandi commented: ‘From restaurants and rubbish to the rude and the ridiculous, this series promises to provide a range of riveting facts and riotous revelations. 

‘I’m really excited for viewers to see what we’ve discovered – you’re in for a treat.’

Source: Daily Mail – Articles

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