I understand you remain unhappy about comments made in the programme Most

Annoying People of the Year 2008.

Firstly please let me apologise for the delay in responding,

Information has been extremely busy and there was a backlog unfortunately.

Please let me also apologise for the fact that your first response from us

was not personalised, however, it was our official statement and had been

signed off by the programme.

I am also aware that you have written to the Director General’s office and

you should also be hearing from them soon.

The BBC has a three stage complaints process; initially
BBC Information

will try to answer your complaint to the best of our ability, but if you

remain unhappy then we will pass your concerns onto someone connected to

the programme.  

If you remain unhappy then you can go to stage two of the

process by contacting our Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU) who will

investigate further and make a ruling as to whether or not your complaint

should be upheld. If you disagree with ECU’s findings then you may escalate

your complaint to the BBC Trust which is the third and
final stage of the


 In line with this I have already passed your email onto Katie

Taylor, who was the BBC Executive Producer on Most
Annoying People of the

Year 2008.  She has prepared the below statement for you with the help of

the show’s producer Anna Gien. As previously mentioned, if you would still

like to take this matter further then Katie has provided ECU’s details at

the end of her statement.

John Farmer

BBC Information Divisional Advisor

Full reply from producer –


I’m very sorry to learn that you were offended by some of the commentary

during the piece on Samantha Ronson and Lindsay Lohan.

The Most Annoying People of the Year (2008) was a light-hearted, comedic

review of the events of the last twelve months, casting a look back at the

stories that have irked and amused.

Sam Ronson and Lindsay Lohan was one of the most over-publicised celebrity

stories of 2008. They made it onto the list, not simply because of their

sexuality, but because of their constant denial of the relationship, that

was simultaneously being played out in the public eye. As extremely

PR-savvy celebrities, Sam and Lindsay, were not the first couple to have

made it onto one of these lists for these reasons. For example, in previous

episodes, we highlighted similar arguments about Billy Zane and Kelly

Brook’s relationship.

I feel that Heidi Parker, our interviewee at the very start of the piece,

made it clear to viewers why Sam and Linsdsay made it onto the list:

"What’s been annoying is that they’ve really had a lot of fun with working

up the press into a tizzy about are they or aren’t they, and it’s just so

obvious that they are, but you know, they’re kind of sweet in a way because

they seem like they’re in love and happy but they’re kind of annoying too

because they’re working it."

The programme then goes on to discuss the nature of the relationship

between the pair and invites various commentators to give their views on

it. These commentators were deliberately chosen as they covered a broad

base of views and sexuality.

DJ Spoony and Ron Jeremy admittedly made some very non-pc, unsophisticated

remarks but they were not malicious in any way. Ron makes a pompous

statement that they were lesbian because they had never met him and then

goes on to fantasise about ‘situations’ with girls. Spoony comments were,

we felt, largely in the same ‘what a waste’ vein that straight women often

talk about attractive gay men. We feel that viewers of this programme would

have known how to take their comments in a programme of this nature.

Alongside this we had Miranda Sawyer and Heidi Parker discussing the

positive impact of the relationship on Lindsay, who was known for her party

lifestyle before they met up, and saying what a great couple they made. We

also featured Grazia writer Paul Flynn, who is himself openly gay, talking

about the couple changing the normal perception of lesbians. His exact

words were:

"I mean the lesbian community must be absolutely jumping for joy about that

woman, because you don’t have hot, cool lesbians in culture, they don’t


Paul’s point of view probably stemmed from the lack of visible ‘cool’

lesbian figures in popular culture, various L Word cast members and the odd

pop star aside. Sadly, major celebrity lesbians are virtually non-existent

in the media and popular culture. The hysterical media storm surrounding

Lindsay Lohan was itself evidence of this.

As a female Series Producer for this show, I assure you that I would have

been very uncomfortable with the idea of broadcasting anything that could

be construed as being misogynistic or homophobic. (Incidentally, both the

Executive Producer of the show and the Director are gay, and both would

have been equally keen to ensure that there was also no hint of misogyny or


The whole piece was simply a comedic look at the teasing tabloid obsession

of a high profile lesbian relationship, examined in detail and from many

different, sometimes very un-pc, perspectives.

I hope my email demonstrates the true intentions behind the commentary

included in this section of the programme.

Yours sincerely,

Anna Gien

Series Producer -The Most Annoying People of the Year (2008)

As you’re aware, you can pursue this complaint further by contacting the

BBC‘s Editorial Complaints Unit who will independently
investigate your

complaint. You can write to them at the following address:

Editorial Complaints Unit

BBC, Room 5168

White City

201 Wood Lane


W12 7TS

Alternatively you can email the Unit at the address:

Yours sincerely,

Katie Taylor

BBC Executive Producer