If you heard Jimmy Carr had destroyed a painting by Hitler on TV, you could probably guess the channel on which it was broadcast.

Next week, Channel 4 celebrates its 40th anniversary, and the broadcaster has been attempting to channel its early anarchic spirit with some controversial programming. 

Will his reputation not be tarnished by association with someone who’s made such vile comments about minorities?

No, I think Hitler’s reputation was already tarnished. 

I’m afraid to ask, but what’s the context?

Tuesday night saw the broadcast of ‘Jimmy Carr Destroys Art’, in which the comedian explored that very modern question of whether you can separate the art from the artist. This usually means ‘can you still watch American Beauty or listen to Thriller?’.

‘Can I enjoy work painted by Hitler?’ feels more extreme and less relevant, and yet viewers tuned in to see Hitler’s painting lowered onto chainsaws. 

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How have people reacted?

After the show’s announcement, Holocaust Memorial Day Trust chief executive Olivia Marks-Woldman told Sky News: “making Hitler a topic of light entertainment is deeply inappropriate”. 

Defenders of the programme are few and far between, but a right-wing journalist somewhere is almost certainly pitching a ‘now the woke left want to cancel a dead Austrian chancellor’ piece. 

Presumably there weren’t millions of viewers bemoaning the lack of programmes featuring Hitler’s art. Why did Channel 4 green light this?

No answer is sufficient, really, but the show is part of Channel 4’s ‘Truth or Dare’ season. To celebrate ‘40 years of pushing boundaries in every genre’, it was commissioned as part of a strand that also includes ‘Prince Andrew: The Musical’ and ‘Too Large For Love’. 

That second one doesn’t ring a bell. 

By the time the show went out on Monday it had a more subtle name.

How subtle?

‘My Massive C**k’. 


Announcing the programmes, Channel 4 said they would “do what Channel 4 was created for: give voice to the unheard, say the unsayable and show the unseen”. 

Hitler, of course, being famously unseen and unheard. 

From Brookside featuring the UK’s first ever pre-watershed lesbian kiss to Russell T Davies’ Queer as Folk and It’s a Sin, the channel does have a proud history of telling unseen and unheard stories. 

This particular show, however, feels more like a segment from their 1997 satire Brass Eye. 

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Destroying art is in vogue these days, isn’t it?

Yes, there have been a few high-profile examples in recent years.

You mean those Just Stop Oil protestors at the National Gallery?

Actually I was thinking of Ryan Adams covering Taylor Swift.