- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
LONDON — U.K. broadcast regulator Ofcom is investigating a Rowan Atkinson sketch aired on the BBC after more than 2,200 viewer complaints.
VIDEO: ‘Mr Bean’ Star Rowan Atkinson Wrecks Million Dollar McLaren F1 Supercar, Walks Away
The sketch was part of last month’s annual Comic Relief special that raises money for poor and disadvantaged people across the U.K. and Africa.
Atkinson, best known for his “Mr. Bean” character, portrayed a fictional version of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the sketch. He compared boy band One Direction to Jesus’ disciples and said praying “doesn’t work.” The character also told audiences that Jesus said love your neighbors, but that “doesn’t mean shag your neighbors.”
STORY: Rowan Atkinson Wades Into BBC Sex Discrimination Dispute
The regulator said it is probing the show, but didn’t disclose further details. It is believed to be probing the sketch for offensive language and religious offense, the Guardian reported.
The BBC previously apologized for the sketch and removed it from its VOD platform, it said.
The public broadcaster told the regulator in a submission that the sketch was “intended to amuse and entertain.” It added that audience feedback made clear that it “was problematic for a number of different reasons.” It also said that Comic Relief is “known for pushing at the boundaries of comedy,” but would keep people’s expressed concerns in mind for the future.
The BBC had already cut jokes from the Comic Relief show that Scottish stand-up Frankie Boyle had made during its taping. They included jokes about Queen Elizabeth II, Kate Middleton and South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius.
The Comic Relief special marked the event’s 25th anniversary and drew more than 12 million viewers at its peak.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day
More from The Hollywood Reporter
Mindy Kaling, Bruce Springsteen, Julia Louis-Dreyfus Among Honorees of White House’s National Medals of Arts
Ed Sheeran Goes on Intimate Journey in New Disney+ Docuseries ‘Ed Sheeran: The Sum of It All’
Mark Twain Prize
Adam Sandler’s Starry Friends Toast His Comic Legacy as He Receives Mark Twain Humor Prize
Jason Ritter Jokes His First Hollywood Job Was a “Full-on Nepotism Hire” Thanks to His Dad John Ritter