BBC in the dock over racial stereotyping and apology

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London, Feb.6 : A series of complaints have been received by BBC's Radio4 programme, accusing it of "pandering" to political correctness after it apologised for broadcasting a debate about a plant nicknamed "Black Man's Willy".

Radio 4 received a flurry of complaints from listeners to Gardeners' Question Time last October after its presenters giggled their way through a discussion about the specimen - the purple bell vine - that was packed with innuendo.

While some in the audience laughed as one of the panellists, Anne Swithinbank, talked about the specimen "hardening off" and "shrivelling up", other listeners accused the show of indulging in racial stereotyping.

According to The Telegraph, their complaints were upheld on Tuesday by the BBC's editorial complaints unit, which said the programme makers did not fully appreciate the potentially offensive nature of the debate.

Don Foster, the Liberal Democrat spokesman for culture, media and sport, said the apology was "over the top".

"Pandering to political correctness and drawing attention to the programme doesn't do the anti-racist cause any good," he was quoted, as saying.

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