BBC has responded to complaints after viewers questioned why the structure of Have I Got News For You wasn’t inclusive to blind comedian Jamie MacDonald.
During a recent episode of the BBC panel show, Scottish stand-up comic Jamie joined host Steph McGovern, professor Hannah Fry, and team captains, Paul Merton and Ian Hislop.
The hot topic of the week was Liz Truss’ resignation as Prime Minister, and the programme presented its usual picture and video rounds, where panelists are asked to either name people or describe what is happening in the clip.
The familiar segment didn’t sit well with viewers at home, with some accusing the BBC of making ‘zero accommodations for the visually impaired.’
Following the backlash, Jamie expressed how much he loved being on the show.
‘Last night was an amazing career highlight,’ he tweeted. ‘I absolutely loved being on @haveigotnews. I really appreciate how concerned everyone has been on my behalf but at no point did I feel excluded in any way.’
In a recent statement, the corporation said: ‘Whenever we invite a guest onto the show with access requirements, we always make sure they are fully briefed about what to expect in the show beforehand.
‘This was the case with Jamie MacDonald, he was fully briefed and consulted on all aspects of the show, including the visual rounds. He wanted to use the situation for humour and we simply respected his wishes.’
During the episode, Jamie appeared to poke fun at the situation after the panelists were distracted by a noise in the studio that sounded like ‘a bag of Malteasers’ being rustled, with Jamie himself quipping: ‘Finally, an audio round,’ to peals of laughter.
Presenter Steph also pointed out the issue, as, introducing another picture round, she said: ‘Sorry Jamie,’ to laughter from the panel and audience.
Jamie is not the first blind comedian to appear on Have I Got News For You, with Chris McCausland having several stints on the series under his belt.
He previously told the BBC Access All podcast that fans get frustrated on his behalf about the visual jokes when he appears on the show, but said: ‘That’s what the show is, and I want to do that show.’
Have I Got News For You airs Fridays from 9pm on BBC One.