Gobshite is okay for Northern Ireland…

You’ve got to hand it to the BBC. No one takes their editorial decisions or public complaints quite so seriously as they do. Recently Gerry Anderson found himself in hot water (again) over the use of the terms shite, gobshite and bogshite. And what was the decision of the great and the good of the BBC Trust? H/T go Pháid!!

“The meaning conveyed by the words ‘shite’ and ‘gobshite’ in the vernacular of Northern Ireland, and in the context of this programme in particular, was different from other parts of the UK in that they did necessarily not carry the same level of offence and aggression and could be seen as a form of comedic banter.” The language was also “appropriate for children listening during school holidays”. However, Anderson must submit to a quota of colourful language and Radio Ulster must “mitigate the overuse of the words”. The trust said that the station had “set in place a system that ensured the programme did not use these words in a way that went beyond the audience’s expectation”

Indeed. I’ve heard the comment zone of the venerable Slugger referred to (and not entirely affectionately) as ‘gobshites.com’. When I got round to looking, that address wasn’t available but gobshites.net was. Any suggestions as to a constructive use we might put it to will be gratefully received!!


  • Rory

    A wise and discerning ruling here from the BBC Trust. In the vernacular of Radio 4 listeners, for example, a term that was equivalently pejorative to its listeners as “gobshite” might be to BBC Ulster listeners might be such as “an avid Jeffrey Archer fan” or “a keen supporter of Norman Tebbit” – terms not in themselves overtly offensive but yet one instinctively knows to shy away from the company of such people at dinner or luncheon.

  • foreign correspondent

    Whoever made the complaint was obviously a bit of a gobshite him or herself…

  • I just watched Only Fools and Horses on RTE1 and it featured a scene in which Del Boy tells Mickey Pearce what he’s saying “smells like bullshit”.

    This scene went out at 7:20pm.

    God I love this country.

  • páid

    I’m old enough to remember when gobshite was a specific enough insult, aimed at a bullshitter.

    For some reason, it has now become generalized, referring to what used to be called an ‘arsehole’.

    In doing so, I feel it has lost some of it’s appeal.