Alan Bennett on why he hates Gogglebox

Author and playwright Alan Bennett has criticised the Government as "deplorable".
Author and playwright Alan Bennett has criticised the Government as "deplorable".
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Leeds writer and playwright Alan Bennett has criticised the Government as “deplorable”.

Speaking to the Radio Times, the 81-year-old playwright attacked the current and former prime ministers as he ruled out writing about politics: “I think this Government is deplorable. I thought the last one was deplorable. I thought Tony Blair was deplorable.”

He also offered an opinion on the current Labour leadership campaign: “I think Jeremy Corbyn has given things a good kick in the pants and the fact that he has done so well shows that people are concerned about these issues. The Government would have you think that nobody is concerned about these things, but they are.”

Deeply critical of the way the Government and Culture Secretary John Whittingdale is handling the BBC, he called it “one of the few things we do better than anybody else” and insisted: “Any attempt to meddle with it or cut the licence fee is scandalous. Any other nation must think we’re crazy to even think of diminishing it. It does things in sound and on TV that you get nowhere else.”

Bennett’s body of work includes plays The History Boys, The Madness of George III and the famous Talking Heads monologues.

Television remains a passion, but he isn’t a fan of reality TV and even BBC One’s popular Great British Bake Off comes in for some criticism: “I hate programmes such as Bake Off, where someone is sent home at the end of each episode. I loathe that. Because it’s so competitive and brings out the worst in people. Everybody elbowing everybody else out of the way.”

The playwright also pours scourn on Gogglebox, Channel 4’s award-winning series about families watching TV: “I want to shake those people. I don’t like the posh pair. And I don’t like that gay couple, their tattoos put me off. I don’t care for the women from Brixton. I like the couple where the man is more radical than the woman; he’s bald and old.”