Yes, it's true! After many years in the illustration business I've finally been banned by the BBC for a cartoon that they commissioned in the first place. Here's the story-
For a few years now I've been producing comic strips for the weekly BBC football mag Match of the Day. A few weeks ago they were planning their Christmas issue and asked me to draw a double page spread showing the Nativity with footballers and MOTD presenters taking the place of the three wise men, shepherds, Jesus etc. So I drew up a rough for approval before going ahead with the finished illustration showing Wayne Rooney as the baby Jesus, Mario Balotelli as the Angel, Sir Alex Ferguson as Mary etc...
This was approved by the good chaps on the magazine so I drew it up (see below) then got an e-mail back saying they loved it but when they showed it to the MD he said they couldn't use it as "we could be accused of inciting racial hatred." EH? How? But you can't argue with the MD so the mag asked me to change it from a Nativity scene into "I'm a Footballer Get me out of Here!" with the background changed into a jungle, Mario's angel turned into an eagle and Wayne's baby Jesus as a kangaroo!
I protested that would be almost a complete redraw and they agreed to pay me a bit more but Blimey O'Riley, how sensitive are the BBC getting?
Below are the before and after cartoons.