ITV has bought the rights to the home videos of Osama Bin Laden, recovered by US Navy SEALs in the al-Qaeda leader’s compound in Pakistan last week.
Bin Laden Does the Funniest Things will air on ITV1 from next Saturday as part of the channel’s new summer lineup, going head-to-head with the BBC’s critically acclaimed Don’t Scare the Hare and Do You Think You Can Fucking Dance?
The programme will be fronted by household favourite Stephen Mulhern and feature never before seen hilarious footage of the recently deceased 9/11 mastermind. One clip, to air this weekend, sees Bin Laden don one of his wive’s burqas and sing “Can’t read my, can’t read my, no he can’t read my burqa face“, in the style of Lady Gaga.
The broadcaster has come under fire, however, from critics who cite Bin Laden Does the Funniest Things as an example of an ongoing trend of ‘dumbing down’.
Gregory Solomons, head of programming at ITV, rejected the criticism, saying the show was part of the company’s “commitment to provide viewers with a diverse schedule, along with long-running favourites You’ve Been Framed, Animals Do the Funniest Things, People Do the Funniest Things, and the forthcoming Gypsies Do The Funniest Things.
“I mean come on, can you honestly tell me that you wouldn’t find Osama Bin Laden slipping over while climbing into his daughter’s paddling pool absolutely hilarious?” He added.
Questions have also been raised by several media pressure groups as to whether it is appropriate to air videos of an infamous terrorist in the form of a family entertainment programme.
Host Stephen Mulhern said he saw no problem in that, and Bin Laden Does the Funniest Things was suitable for the whole family.
He told Seleb Spy: “Osama Bin Laden may have been a murderous psychopath, responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians – but he also had a real talent for visual comedy.
“Like a bloodthirsty jihadist Charlie Chaplin.”