Dame Maureen Lipman has warned that cancel culture could kill comedy, warning that “we’re on the cusp of wiping out comedy”.

However comedian Russell Kane said the notion that comedians are self-censoring is “complete nonsense”.

The comments were made as part of a BBC feature on “cancel culture” in the sector.

A YouGov poll shared with the BBC suggests that 57 per cent of people keep quiet on their views on topics such as immigration and trans rights, especially if their opinions are “less politically correct”.

Speaking to the BBC, Coronation Street actress Lipman said she thinks it’s a “revolution”, adding: “It’s in the balance, whether we’re ever going to be funny again.”

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She said: “It’s a bit like laughter in church. Something has to be forbidden to make you really laugh, to make you really belly laugh, it’s when you shouldn’t be laughing. And so therefore all the things that are being cancelled out are, I’m afraid, the things that have always made people laugh.

“This cancel culture, this punishment, it’s everywhere. An eye for an eye. ‘You said that therefore you must never work again’. We’re on the cusp of wiping out comedy.”

However Kane, who presents Radio 4’s Evil Genius, said: "I don’t think anyone is saying you can’t be offended, nobody is saying that, what we’re saying is you can’t use hate speech that would prompt a gender-related crime, a sex-related crime or a race-related crime."

"There’s been a massive, much-needed shift in the conversation around gender, around men’s attitudes to women, around consent. Society has moved on."

He added that comedians do worry about how their past jokes may look now, with Kane himself signing up to a website that deletes tweets that are older than six months.

After an article was published last night and the segment featured on Radio 4 this morning, people took to Twitter to share their thoughts.

Some disagreed with Lipman, with one Twitter user writing: “If you have to be offensive, you ain’t funny, you’re a bully. Comedians can make anything at all funny, that’s their gift”.

Some responded to her comments with sarcasm:

Writer Joshua Seigal even wrote a poem for Lipman:

Others agreed with her however:

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