Saturday, December 10, 2011

Banned By The BBC?

This month marked the return of Nicola Stapleton to EastEnders after a 17-year absence, resuming the role of Mandy Salter

The former “wild child” returns as a stripper. She certainly looks a lot, ahem... different, from how I remembered her, so I hopped into my time machine (YouTube, for the uninitiated), and found this clip of her from 1992 

in which teenage Mandy lets slip the phrase “a bunch of wankers acting like Cockneys.” I was surprised at the number of YouTuber comments expressing shock that line had slipped past the BBC censors.

No, it’s not what you think. Get your minds out of the gutter so mine can float by. The term cockney refers to working class Londoners who have a distinctive accent and dialect. It’s a perfectly benign term. However, the BBC has described “wanker” as “moderately offensive” and in  2000, a British research study ranked wanker as the fourth most severe pejorative in the English language (which I have to question, as I’m sure I’ve been called at least a dozen worse words).

A wanker is British slang for a loser or layabout  -- one who makes as little effort as he can possibly get away with, and wastes his time… how shall I put this politely… wanking a certain bodily appendage.

In my novel Paved With Good Intentions, the demon Lucifer and angel Gabriel (disguised as a demon) have snuck into Hell to search for Chrysanthemum when they stumble upon a group of demons having tea (picture the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in Hell). Lucifer hastily introduces his friend, struggling to create a demonic name and function for the disguised angel:

“May I present my friend, um… er… Wanker, the demon of masturbation!”

Gabriel momentarily looked askance at Lucifer, then extended his hand before quickly withdrawing it, sensing his hosts’ reluctance to shake hands with the demon of masturbation.

American readers don't get the joke and British readers will be offended. I guess that scene has killed my chances of ever seeing Halos & Horns adapted by the BBC. Sigh. (Of course, there is always ITV…) Meantime, I’ll have to settle for watching Nicola Stapleton playing a skimpily clad stripper on Eastenders. I’m such a wanker.

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