Carol Thatcher, the daughter of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, has been sacked from her job as a roving reporter on the BBC1 show "The One Show" over comments about French tennis player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Carol, 55, was overheard in the show's green room saying that Tsonga bears a striking resemblance to a golliwog.

The ultra-Politically Correct BBC decided this was enough to get her sacked.

Tsonga's cousin, Charles N'Zogbia, a French footballer who plys his trade in England, has also recently been involved in controversy.

He recently quit his team, Newcastle United, after their manager Joe Kinnear called him "Charles Insomnia". He has now signed for Wigan Athletic.

Carol Thatcher banned from BBC's The One Show for 'golliwog' comment

Carol Thatcher has been banned from BBC's The One Show after being reported for referring to a tennis player as a "golliwog".

By Caroline Gammell
04 Feb 2009
The Telegraph

Carol Thatcher at Heathrow airport. The BBC has said today they have no plans for her, after she referred to a tennis player as a 'Golliwog'. Photo: PA

The daughter of former prime minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher made the remark during an off-camera conversation with The One Show presenter Adrian Chiles.

Although the conversation took place in the green room and not on air, her remark was heard by several members of the production team, as well as Chiles, who was described as "shocked".

It is understood the BBC wanted a formal apology from Thatcher but she had declined to do so.

In less PC days, the golliwog used to appear on jars of Robinson's jam, until it was removed in 2001.

Despite being barred from the show, Thatcher will not be banned from the BBC as a whole.

Thatcher, 55, was one of the programme's "roving reporters" and was discussing one of the male competitors in the Australian Open last week. The show's website praised "her dry, self-deprecating wit and tenacious spirit".

A BBC source said: "There were a number of complaints from people in the room about this particular remark, it did cause offence. A number of people were quite taken aback by the language."

Thatcher, a journalist and writer, made a name for herself by winning the ITV reality programme I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! in 2005.

Her spokesman told The Times that her client never intended to cause any offence and it was "meant as a joke".

"She made a light aside about this tennis player and his similarity to the golliwog on the jampot when she was growing up," he said.

"There's no way, obviously, that she would condone any racist comment - we would refute that entirely. It would not be in her nature to do anything like that.

"It is disgusting that we've had a leak of private conversations in the green room - the BBC has more leaks than Thames Water.

"Carol is mortified that anyone should take offence at a silly joke. She has summarily apologised."

A BBC spokesman said: "The BBC considers any language of a racist nature wholly unacceptable. We have raised the issue with the individual concerned and are discussing it as a matter or urgency."

Carol Thatcher 'golliwog' jibe referred to black tennis player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Carol Thatcher was dropped by the BBC for making a 'golliwog' remark about French tennis player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, according to insiders at The One Show.

By Anita Singh, Showbusiness Editor
04 Feb 2009
The Telegraph

Baroness Thatcher and her daughter Carol in the Royal Box at The Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, London. Photo: PA

The daughter of former prime minister Baroness Thatcher has lost her job on the BBC One programme after making the comment backstage to presenter Adrian Chiles and guest Jo Brand.

She was discussing the Australian Open, in which Tsonga lost to Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the quarter-finals.

Tsonga, 23, shot to international attention last year when, as an unseeded player, he reached the Australian Open final, beating Britain's Andy Murray along the way. He scored a stunning 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Rafael Nadal in the semi-final, eventually losing to Novak Djokovic.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Fans have long pointed out his resemblance to boxer Muhammad Ali. He was marked out as a promising talent when he won the US Open junior title in 2003, only for injury to put him out of the game for the next two years.

He is mixed race, born in Le Mans to a white French mother, Evelyne, and a black Congolese father, Didier. Sporting talent runs in the family - his father, who moved to France in the 1970s to study for a chemistry degree, was a handball international and his yougner brother, Enzo, is a basketball player.

Asked in a recent interview if he had ever experienced racism in the tennis world, he replied: "I cannot say I have. However, I have seen on many occasions, especially in soccer, expressions of racism. At the end of the day, stupidity cannot be controlled. You can only hope to contain it."

Tsonga is known on the circuit as a polite, serious man devoted to his family. He has said of his upbringing: "From my mother I've inherited my coolness and my serenity. From my father I've inherited respect for the rules and respect for the people around me."

His second cousin is Charles N'Zogbia, the Premiership footballer recently embroiled in his own controversy over "offensive" remarks. He refused to play for his club, Newcastle United, after manager Joe Kinnear called him "Charles Insomnia" during a television interview. He signed for Wigan Athletic on Monday.

Golliwogs have a godly origin (external - login to view)

Feb 4, 2009 The Telegraph
Christopher Howse

There is a surprise in the origin of the word golliwog or gollywog - that it derives from the word God. That does not make it acceptable to use. It has come a long way from its godly origins.

A Golliwogg and Dutch dolls sliding on ice

In any case, to call someone a golliwog is very different from using the word descriptively. One might love a pet dog, for example, very much, but to call someone a dog is not kind.

A golliwog is associated with a stuffed toy because the term was popularised in 1895 by Bertha Upton, an American author whose parents were English, in The Adventures of two Dutch Dolls and a 'Golliwogg'. The pictures were by her daughter Florence. The story concerned children's toys. The story is freely available (external - login to view) online and is still in print as a book. Toy golliwogs swept the world. Debussy was inspired to write The Golliwog's Cakewalk.

Bertha Upton went on to write more adventures for the Golliwogg, rather as Robertson's jam later had the golliwog emblem filling dashing roles as an astronaut, golfer - or tennis-player.

It cannnot be denied though that the Uptons' concept of the Golliwogg depended on the image of the "****** minstrel" - the black-faced white man playing the banjo in a funny costume. This in turn leant on a fantasy idea of black people - in America, slaves - with thick lips and white eyes. It is not a comfortable caricature.

Yet it was this image that survived in the immensely popular Black and White Minstrel Show screened by the BBC until 1978, which to many seems like yesterday.

Why did Bertha Upton call her hero a Golliwogg? The Oxford English Dictionary suggests a connection in form with the word pollywog, a dialect and American term for a tadpole. This is a fairly old word, known since the 15th century. In those days it had the form polywiggle. There is no doubt in my mind that C.S. Lewis derived from this word the name marsh-wiggle for the kind of amphibian exemplified by the pessimistic Puddleglum in The Silver Chair. So Puddleglum is a damp cousin of the children's toy, the golliwog. No doubt Lewis had one as a child in Northern Ireland.

But if pollywog is a verbal form that chimes with golliwog, where did the first element, golly, come from? After all, golly itself came to be used to name the toy and, unfortunately, as a demeaning term for a black person.

Golly is nothing but a mumbled oath. It serves as a substitute for the word God in exclamations. It is a little like crikey (for Christ) in that way. In 1775, Gilbert White the natural historian, said that golly was "a sort of jolly kind of oath, or asseveration much in use among our carters, & lowest people". It was an exclamation that might have been used by black labourers in the 19th century.

The late Auberon Waugh, a columnist for The Daily Telegraph, had an absurd vendetta against the Earl of Gowrie, who had competed successfully with him over a girl while they were both at Oxford. Waugh childishly pretended that Lord Gowrie was a black man. The Earl's golly-like bow ties and shock of curly hair were all that could have suggested this. Noting that human beings are all 98 per cent water, Waugh remarked: "Add a touch of black treacle or soot to the mixture and you have Lord Gowrie."

Lord Gowrie was a big enough man to take the tease for years, but would anyone make such a joke nowadays and get away with it?

Last edited by Blackleaf; Feb 4th, 2009 at 01:00 PM..