When outspoken former newspaper editor Kelvin MacKenzie made an appearance on Pointless Celebrities, Twitter was not happy.
The former editor of The Sun was playing the BBC1 quiz alongside BBC and ITN’s former political broadcaster John Sergeant, but a number of fans took to the social networking site to express their displeasure at his participation. And it turns out they weren’t alone.
Richard Osman – who presents the format alongside Alexander Armstrong – replied to quite a number of followers who had tweeted him their disappointment.
He explained to fans that he had not been aware of MacKenzie’s appearance until just an hour before the show’s recording and had complained about the journalist being a contestant. Tweeting replies to over 20 fans, Osman confirmed he was “strongly opposed” to his participation and offered his “genuine apologies”.
Some tweeters included the hashtag #JFT96 – Justice for the 96 – in reference to the 96 people who lost their lives during the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. MacKenzie, editor of The Sun at the time, published his infamous “The Truth” front page four days after the tragedy in which the newspaper detailed inaccurate allegations against Liverpool football fans, a decision that drew widespread anger in the Merseyside area. The Sun have since apologised with an opinion piece in 2004 admitting that publishing the headline was “the most terrible mistake in its history.”
Saturday’s episode scored an average of nearly 5 million viewers in the overnight ratings but any indignant fans didn’t have to put up with MacKenzie for long – he and John Sergeant were booted out in the first round.