It was confirmed today that The Mash Report would not return for a fifth series with a spokesperson for the BBC stating that the “difficult” decision was made in order to “make room for new comedy shows”.
The Mash Report, on which Rachel Parris also heavily featured, has became the subject of controversy concerning criticism that BBC’s comedy output is perceived as having a left-wing bias.
Responding to the news on Twitter, Kumar wrote: “A lot of people are asking me for a comment and here it is” – accompanied with an image of himself on the show pointing to a screen that reads: “Boris Johnson is a liar and a racist.”
Parris is yet to comment publicly on the announcement.
Many people on social media have expressed their disappointment at the news on Twitter. Radio presenter James O’Brien wrote that the move is a “stone cold example of what ‘cancel culture’ looks like”.
He wrote: “The Mash Report, a comedy program critical of the government has been axed by the state broadcaster, reportedly for political reasons, and at the behest of a director general appointed by the government.”
Others, however, have welcomed the decision, with some users stating that the programme “just wasn’t that funny”.
The comedy news show, which aired its first episode on BBC Two in 2017, covered a range of political topics, including Brexit.
Former BBC presenter Andrew Neil has previously condemned The Mash Report as “self-satisfied, self-adulatory, unchallenged left-wing propaganda”.
Reports also emerged that the newly appointed director general – who took over from Lord Tony Hall – was set to tackle “perceived left-wing comedy bias”.
The Telegraph reported that Davie believed the corporation’s comedy output was seen as too one-sided. Senior sources told the publication that he planned for a “radical overhaul” for the sector.
Davie, however, later dismissed the reports as “nonsense” and “ridiculous” speculation, claiming that he had “no idea where that came from”.
“Reading some of the commentary is ridiculous,” he said in an interview obtained by Chortle. “Comedy has always been poking at authority. And by the way, I want good satire on the BBC. I like being adventurous.”
The director general went on to speak about the importance of impartiality for the network, which has been dogged by complaints of bias from viewers.
He said: “What I do think though, is the same as my framework for overall impartiality. The BBC should not come from a platform from when there’s an assumed point of view. It’s not just about left and right, it’s different people.”
‘I would like a multitude of flavours in our comedy. It’s not about stopping one [side]… that’s just nonsense.”
Some viewers have taken the cancellation of The Mash Project as a sign that BBC may be taking action against its “perceived left-wing bias”.
The comedian was performing at the Lord’s Taverners annual cricket lunch in December where he was escorted off stage amid boos.
At the time, Kumar joked on Twitter: “In my defence, it was only one bread roll and it missed me.”