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BBC says Cohen, not character, welcome on its shows

May 4, 2012 at 12:57 PM
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LONDON, May 4 (UPI) -- The BBC says British writer-actor Sacha Baron Cohen would be a welcome guest on its shows so long as he comes as himself and not in character.

Cohen is known for promoting his big-screen comedies such as "Borat" and "Bruno" by appearing in public as those characters. He also walked the red carpet at the Oscars in February dressed as his character from "The Dictator," a comedy about fictional Middle Eastern despot Adm. Gen. Aladeen, due out in theaters this month.

The BBC dismissed as untrue Friday rumors claiming it won't allow Cohen to appear on its programs to talk about the movie.

"There is no ban," a BBC spokesman said. "But our chat shows thrive on the spontaneous banter between guests and the presenter, something you just don't get when people come on as characters.

We'd love to have Sacha on as himself."

"While I am a huge admirer of state-sponsored censorship, the BBC banning me from their meager channels is an outrage," Cohen as Aldeen said in a statement. "Why are they victimizing little old me?"

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