Junior Bake Off – response

Junior Bake Off Complaint - response from Channel 4

Recently, we wrote an ‘Open Letter’ to Channel 4 regarding a joke that Liam Searle on the current series of Junior Bake off regarding PTSD and his experience making fortune cookies. 

We noted in the letter that “Using PTSD as a punchline in a joke not only further stigmatises the reality of the condition, but it also incorrectly and unhelpfully desensitises people to the debilitating symptoms that can lead to family problems, unemployment, physical health issues, self-harm, homelessness, alcohol and drug addiction, and ultimately suicide.” and asked Channel 4 how this was able to get through the production and edit process and deemed appropriate for a children’s TV show. (you can read the full letter here)

A couple of weeks have passed since we published the letter and thought we should update you on the response we’ve had from supporters, and Channel 4 themselves to highlight the importance of us ‘taking a stand’ like this.

The positive response we got from PTSD UK Supporters was overwhelming. As a small, and relatively new charity, when we take bold steps like this, it’s always important for us to know that we’re doing the right thing for the people we support. Of course, it goes without saying that there was some feedback from people saying they were not offended by the statement, or that sometimes people use humour/self-deprecation to deflect from the pain of a situation (although we feel this is only appropriate if the person is affected by the condition themselves) but the overwhelming majority of PTSD UK Supporters felt it was the right thing to do, and were happy we ‘took the lead’ on this situation that they see as unacceptable.

Following our direct outreach to Channel 4, they replied privately with the following disappointing response:

Dear Jacqui,
 
Thank you for taking the time to get in touch to highlight your concerns with us regarding Junior Bake Off.
 
In relation to your concerns, Channel 4 takes mental health portrayal very seriously. The inclusion of the comment was considered by the editorial team and as this was Liam talking about his own experience it was decided that, given the context, it should stay in the programme.
 
Kind Regards,
 
Anna Smith
Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries

We were disappointed by the response, in that Channel 4 are excusing the ‘joke’ because they felt as it was Liam talking about his own experience of making fortune cookies, that it was ok to stay in the programme. As such, we have responded to them with the following:

Hi Anna, 

Thanks for your response – although I’m a little confused. 

Are you saying that because the comment was made by Liam about his own experience of having difficulty making Fortune Cookies, that it was ok for him to make a joke at the expense of people who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – a life-changing condition that not only leads to debilitating symptoms, but also family problems, unemployment, physical health issues, self-harm, homelessness, alcohol and drug addiction, and in many cases, ultimately suicide?

I’m not sure that is in synergy with the statement that ‘Channel 4 takes mental health portrayal very seriously’.

Are we to expect other presenters of children’s TV shows on Channel 4 to be making jokes about cancer, dementia, AIDS, bipolar disorder, alcoholism, anorexia or any other condition because they’re using those conditions as synonyms for simple experiences in life? I assume not. Indeed I feel uncomfortable even using such conditions as reference points in this email!

Are you able to confirm if this was a scripted comment? I’d be really keen to understand more about how Channel 4 feels it’s taking mental health portrayal seriously if this is deemed appropriate (scripted or not).

I look forward to your reply,

Jacqui

We’ll update this page with any further updates – but we don’t feel this is a satisfactory response to such a statement. 

Sources
  • Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Optio, neque qui velit. Magni dolorum quidem ipsam eligendi, totam, facilis laudantium cum accusamus ullam voluptatibus commodi numquam, error, est. Ea, consequatur.
Image
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Optio, neque qui velit. Magni dolorum quidem ipsam eligendi, totam, facilis laudantium cum accusamus ullam voluptatibus commodi numquam, error, est. Ea, consequatur.

Hello! Did you find this information useful?

Please consider supporting PTSD UK with a donation to enable us to provide more information & resources to help us to support everyone affected by PTSD, no matter the trauma that caused it

PTSD UK Blog

You’ll find up-to-date news, research and information here along with some great tips to ease your PTSD in our blog.

Rebellious Rebirth – Oran: Guest Blog

Rebellious Rebirth – Oran: Guest Blog In this moving guest blog, PTSD UK Supporter Oran shares her personal story after a traumatic event brought childhood traumas to the surface. Dealing with Complex PTSD, Oran found solace in grounding techniques and

Read More »

Ralph Fiennes – Trigger Warnings Response

Guest Blog: Response to Ralph Fiennes – Trigger warnings in theatres This thought-provoking article has been written for PTSD UK by one of our supporters, Alex C, and addresses Ralph Fiennes’ recent remarks on trigger warnings in Theatre. Alex sheds

Read More »

Please don’t tell me I’m brave

Guest Blog: Living With PTSD – Please don’t tell me I’m brave ‘Adapting to living in the wake of trauma can mean maybe you aren’t ready to hear positive affirmations, and that’s ok too.’ and at PTSD UK, we wholeheartedly

Read More »

Emotional Flashbacks – Rachel

Emotional Flashbacks: Putting Words to a Lifetime of Confusing Feelings PTSD UK was founded with the desire to do what was possible to make sure nobody ever felt as alone, isolated or helpless as our Founder did in the midst

Read More »

Morning Mile March Challenge

events | walk PTSD UK’s Morning Mile March Challenge Sign up now PTSD UK’s Morning Mile March Challenge The challenge We all know ‘exercise is good for you’, and even a small amount can make a big difference. There are

Read More »

PTSD UK Supporters Store

100% of the profits from everything in our online Supporters Store goes directly to our mission – to help everyone affected by PTSD in the UK, no matter the trauma that caused it.

Treatments for PTSD

It is possible for PTSD to be successfully treated many years after the traumatic event occurred, which means it is never too late to seek help. For some, the first step may be watchful waiting, then exploring therapeutic options such as individual or group therapy – but the main treatment options in the UK are psychological treatments such as Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming (EMDR) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Traumatic events can be very difficult to come to terms with, but confronting and understanding your feelings and seeking professional help is often the only way of effectively treating PTSD. You can find out more in the links below, or here.