Channel 5

Facebook campaign set up against Channel 5 presenter Matthew Wright over comments on Lewis murder

By Hamish Mackay

December 8, 2011 | 3 min read

Channel 5 presenter Matthew Wright is at the centre of a major row after making facetious remarks on the murder of teenager Liam Aitchison in the Western Isles.

Although Wright has issued an apology, albeit with a controversial reference on complainants to television regulator Ofcom, the 16-year-old’s family issued a statement through Northern Constabulary criticising the programme.

The statement said: "We are very disappointed at the insensitive and offensive nature of the comments made on the Channel 5 programme, The Wright Stuff.

"This is very upsetting and insulting for, not just the family, but for the whole community of the Western Isles."

BBC Scotland News reports that a campaign – ‘Report the Wright Stuff to Ofcom’ - has been launched by islanders on Facebook urging complaints to be made to Ofcom.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the Western Isles' local authority, has already made a complaint to Ofcom and the regulator has confirmed it has received further complaints.

The controversy blew up following Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff, on Tuesday, in which, according to BBC Scotland, the presenter did a mock Scottish accent and said "there's been another murder" - copying a phrase from STV detective show Taggart.

The murder of Aitchison was discussed during a newspaper review, with panel member Charlie Baker describing the murder probe as "the longest episode of Taggart of all time".

On yesterday’s programme, the presenter said: "I know that some of you have been upset by some comments made during yesterday's newspaper review about the murder of Liam Aitchison in Stornoway and I would like to apologise if that was the case.

"Certainly, no intention on my part to belittle the seriousness, or the tragedy of this story, or to offend anyone who knew Liam.

"You know me; I have been touched by death too many times to belittle anything like that."

But he added a provocative rider: "Not helped by people running campaigns 'report Matthew Wright to Ofcom'. I mean, grow up folks."

Northern Constabulary launched the murder inquiry on Monday following a post-mortem examination on Liam.

His body was found in the Steinish area of Lewis last week.

Western Isles MP, Angus MacNeil, said he was registering a complaint with Ofcom.

"To see Matthew Wright on his Channel 5 programme … making jokes about the tragedy and behaving as he did is beyond belief, and has disgusted everyone who have seen the programme."

A spokesman for Ofcom said: "We have received a number of complaints and are assessing those, before any decision can be made as to the possibility of an investigation at this stage."

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