Sacha Baron Cohen Banned From The Beeb
But it is only his latest screen creation General Aladeen from new film The Dictator who will be prevented from getting any Beeb air time.
The tyrannical ruler of Wadiya, North Africa, shares some familiar characteristics with other famous despots of our time and has already been making Baron Cohen fans chuckle with his outrageous behaviour in the trailer for the film (see below).
But the BBC has apparently not seen the funny side and it has now emerged that high-profile appearances of Baron Cohen, in character as Aladeen, have now been scrapped from the programming schedule.
The Graham Norton Show, The One Show, Newsnight and The Andrew Marr Show were all reportedly due to feature the 40-year-old comedian but have since pulled out. Even radio stations 1 and 4 are chickening out.
The comedian has now spoken of his “outrage” at the publicly funded corporation’s move and criticised the heavy-handed approach to censorship. “While I am a huge admirer of state-sponsored censorship”, he told The Sun as Aladeen, “the BBC banning me from their meagre channels is an outrage.
“Why are they victimising little old me?”
A source close to Cohen (speaking as him/herself) added: “Everyone came back and said they were declining to have him in character on air.
“Sacha suspects it’s a case of a sense of humour bypass.”
A BBC spokesman has now responded to the reports: “Our chat shows thrive on the spontaneous banter between guests and the presenter, something you don’t get when people come on as characters.
“We’d love to have Sacha on as himself.”
Sacha is known for staying in the character of his controversial movie characters such as Borat, Ali G and Bruno during interviews and has made appearances on the BBC in the past. Cohen has promised to deliver a “big” stunt at Royal Festival Hall next Thursday when the comedian will be in character as his latest alter-ego ready for the launch of his new film.
The Dictator opens on May 11, 2012 in the US and on May 16 in the UK.
Watch a trailer for the film below: