Matthew Wright apologises for joking about a murdered teenager – but the damage is done

by Lynn Connolly

Matthew Wright, who of course hosts Channel 5 panel chat show, The Wright Stuff, apologised last night for making jokes about murdered teenager Liam Aitchison.

16 year old Liam was found dead in the Steinish area of Lewis last week, and his was the first murder in the small Scottish community for 42 years.

During his show, Matthew spoke in a Scottish accent to say, Taggart-esque, “There’s been another murder!”

Matthew then laughed when panelist Charlie Baker said that if the murder were in fact an episode of Taggart, it would be, “the longest episode of Taggart of all time”.

And of course, it’s not the first time that Matthew has courted controversy; his ‘debate’ entitled, Foxy Knoxy: Would Ya? about Amanda Knox – who was recently cleared of murdering student Meredith Kercher in Italy – similarly caused outrage.

Last night, Liam’s father Norman wrote on Facebook, “Would panel members make a joke of this if it was one of their own children? I am disgusted.”

And according to the Sun, MP Angus MacNeil said Wright’s behaviour was “beyond belief”.

Wright is quoted by the paper as saying that he hadn’t intended to “belittle the tragedy of this story or offend anyone who knew Liam”.

Which I suspect is just plain not true. How could anyone who’s been in the media as long as Matthew has, not know that this subject matter – particularly given how recently Liam was murdered – would be offensive?

I think he knew exactly what would happen, and let’s face it, that age old adage ‘Bad publicity is better than no publicity’ is no less relevant now than it has ever been.

Matthew’s show is of course, like many other of its ilk, mostly scripted in advance, so this wasn’t off-the-cuff, or an ill judged impromptu remark; it was planned.

Nothing ups ratings like a good controversy, which ordinarily, is forgivable to some extent, but joking about this subject was just plain bad taste and disgraceful.

Let me know your thoughts about it.

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.