David Jason has hit out at the use of swearing in television comedy.
The actor, who played Del Boy in Only Fools And Horses, said that the new generation of comedians is too concerned with pushing the boundaries of language.
He told the Radio Times: “The trouble is now we have stand-up comedians who have forgotten about innuendo. In music hall days, and especially at the BBC, you were never allowed swear words, so they came up with brilliant wheezes in Beyond Our Ken, The Goon Show and Round The Home – ‘Hello, I’m Jules and this is my friend Sandy’. Everyone knew what it was about and audience filled in the gaps.”
He continued: “Today, they push down the barriers. Take the F word. It’s become commonplace. Stephen Fry – I’m a great fan and think he’s clever – puts up a good argument for using all swear words as a rich part of our language. But he couldn’t persuade me. Language has implications and it’s offensive if it’s meant to denigrate something or someone. Only Fools had nothing unpleasant, really.”
The Del Boy star also criticised violence, claiming that viewers have become “addicted” to “graphic shots of legs and arms blown off”, suggesting that “they must have an influence” on viewers.
Of his new sitcom The Royal Bodyguard, Jason added: “It’s a lovely piece of fun. OK, being an old fart, it’s for viewers who want something safe as well. The most important thing for me is I can sit back and watch it with my 10-year-old daughter Sophie without thinking, ‘Whoops, why did they say that? Oh blimey’, and then unable to get to the off knob fast enough.
“There wasn’t much on the telly the other night so with Sophie and her friend we watched Laurel And Hardy, made in the 1930s, and these kids laughed like drains. That’s humour – doing what funny people have done since comedy began without being edgy and pushing boundaries.”
The Royal Bodyguard airs on Boxing Day on BBC One.