Tuesday, June 12, 2001
'offensive' dog cut by censor
By TOM LEONARD
ITV was criticised by
anti-censorship campaigners yesterday
after it expunged the name of Nigger, the
famous black labrador owned by the Dam
Busters leader Guy Gibson, from the
film version of the bombing
Wing Commander Gibson's dog played an
important role in both the 1943 raid on
the Ruhr dams and the classic war film
that celebrated it.
His name was used as the codeword for
the bombers' main target in the raid,
while in one of the film's more poignant
moments, Gibson is told he has been run
over and killed by a car.
However, when the 1954 film -- starring
Michael Redgrave and Richard
Todd -- was screened on ITV on
Saturday afternoon, all mention of the
dog's name had been edited out.
ITV and Granada, which had been
responsible for ensuring the film complied
with broadcasting standards, said they
wanted to avoid offending viewers.
They pointed to recent research by
broadcasting regulators which suggested
viewers nowadays regarded "nigger" as one
of the most offensive words in the English
An ITV spokesman said the network was
inundated with complaints over an unedited
version of the film In 1999 but had yet to
receive any complaints about the censored
film at the weekend.
DAMN! This just
shows the problems we editors are now
constantly up against in our urgent desire
for political correctness. They have
successfully expunged the N-word; Guy
Gibson VC should have known better and
called his dog "Black African American",
or "American of Colour" (uh, "color?").
But that still
leaves the Dambusters word itself.
That should be condemn, in case it is
confused with the expletive damn.
Is that word, congruent with "breast,"
not now considered to be sexist? don't
women prefer to talk of a boob?
Sexist too, ain't it? It should be 'is,
to avoid offending women's
out. Condemn-boob-is in. Aaargh! Sounds
like we're condemning Ignatz Bubis,
who is dead: we'd be vilifying the memory
of the dead, a criminal offence under
German law. Back to square one, don't pass
go, don't collect two hundred pounds.
items on this website: a free
Irving: The Night the Dams
Edwards of Australia informs us
(Wednesday, June 13, 2001): "The
Australian version always had the dog's
name altered to 'Trigger'"