Des O’Connor: there’s too much swearing on TV

Entertainer Des tells Radio Times how he'd have been fired for saying "bloody" in his early days

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Des O’Connor – chat show host, entertainer and constant butt of Morecambe and Wise jokes – says comedians swear too much now. 

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“There’s a lot of swearing in comedy today,” he told Radio Times. “But I’m not sitting in judgement – how can you when they’re jamming them into 20,000 seats at the O2 Arena? It’s their life, and the audience must know what’s coming. When I started, ‘bloody’ could get you fired. The worst I ever said was ‘piddle’. Or it may have been ‘widdle’.”

He reveals that he set certain rules for his chat show, Des O’Connor Tonight: “No swearing, no religion, politics, sickness, tragedy, scandal, sex, drama. I don’t want to get the ‘story’ – ‘Were you abused as a child?’ – I tried to find the fun side.”

Des O’Connor Tonight ran for 25 years on that basis and the man’s career includes 16 million record sales and 1,284 performances at the London Palladium. It’s this career and his 80th birthday that are being celebrated in ITV1’s The One & Only Des O’Connor (Sunday, 7:30pm).

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Read more about Des and his friendship with Eric Morecambe, his marriages and about the one incident he does regret from his chat show days in the new issue of Radio Times magazine, on sale now.