Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg episode with Joe Lycett received 144 complaints BBC report shows

Joe Lycett sparked an uproar on social media and amongst some in the media during an appearance on the new BBC show Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg.

The comedian was on the front page of some newspapers and trending on Twitter after he pretended to be right wing and delivered a sarcastic response to Liz Truss's appearance on the programme.

The appearance from Lycett even sparked claims the BBC were to ‘re-set’ the show’ with the corporation allegedly striving to avoid a repeat of Lycett’s “takeover”, with potentially controversial bookings coming under closer scrutiny.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Tim David, the director-general of the BBC, also came out defending the corporation, insisting the controversial appearance did not show the BBC had an ‘anti-Tory bias’.

However, the fortnightly complaints report from the BBC has shown the episode sparked just 144 complaints from viewers – 50 less than an episode of EastEnders, and more than 150 less than an episode of Have I Got News For You claiming bias against Boris Johnson.

Of the 144 complaints about the show, the most common issue was alleged “bias against Liz Truss”.

Read More
Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg: Joe Lycett praised for his response to Liz Truss's...

Although the report does not mention Lycett, the comedian featured heavily during Ms Truss’s interview analysis and even applauded directly after her interview and shouted “you smashed it Liz”

Joe Lycett appeared on the first episode of the showJoe Lycett appeared on the first episode of the show
Joe Lycett appeared on the first episode of the show

The BBC did not make the response to the complaint public. However, only one show with more than 300 complaints received a public reply. Following the broadcast, the BBC had defended the show, saying: “There will be a wide range of guests, with a wide range of opinions, throughout this series.”

It also refuted claims about the result, saying they did not recognise claims there would be significant changes to the format.

Lycett, who was appearing alongside former Number 10 aide Cleo Watson and Labour frontbencher Emily Thornberry, said on the-then PM hopeful’s interview: “You said earlier I’m not left or right. I know there’s been criticism in the Mail on Sunday today about leftie liberal, wokie comedians on the BBC.

“I’m actually very right wing and I love it. I thought she gave great clear answers. I know exactly what she’s up to.

A screengrab from the reportA screengrab from the report
A screengrab from the report
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“She was very clear what she said. I think we know exactly what’s going to happen. You’re reassured, I’m reassured, are you reassured?"

The clip has been viewed more than eight million times on social media.

Conservative MP Steve Brine attacked the decision to have the comedian on the show.

He said: “He did this mock applause after Liz Truss left the interview chair. He was then immediately asked for his reaction and he said ‘she was the dregs of what they’ve got available and the backwash of the available MPs’.

The panel on Sunday with Laura KuenssbergThe panel on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg
The panel on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg

“Now whatever your opinion, for a brand new show, which really wants to get off to a good start, when you’re booking a pundit to go on, Joe Lycett is not an uncontroversial figure.”

The fortnightly report into the BBC complaints from August 29–September 11 showed received a total of 7,884 complaints in total, with the BBC dealing with 96 per cent of complaints within ten working days.