On this day in 1976, the British press had their panties up in a bunch over The Sex Pistols’ appearance on the Today programme, which aired the previous day on London regional TV. They were a last minute substitute for Queen. After being taunted by host Bill Grundy, they swore repeatedly, including the dreaded ‘F’ word. The programme was amazingly not taken off the air.
Grundy’s opening speech went like this: “They are punk rockers. The new craze, they tell me. Their heroes? Not the nice, clean Rolling Stones… you see they are as drunk as I am… they are clean by comparison. They’re a group called The Sex Pistols, and I am surrounded by all of them…”
The F-bomb was said only 31 seconds into the conversation, but Grundy literally was just as drunk as they were and he had failed to even notice the first one. Johnny Rotten obviously couldn’t keep his mouth shut for long, and soon he was rocking back and forth in his seat and muttering to himself when the word “shit” was heard. Grundy confront’s him on it, “No, no… tell us the word” he said. Rotten replied “Shit”. Then Grundy turned to the rest of the group and referred to the girls in their crew. He drunkenly flirts with Sioux, who had said, “I always wanted to meet you”. Grundy’s reply of “well, maybe we’ll meet after” caused the band to go off on him.
JONES: You dirty sod. You dirty old man!
GRUNDY: Well keep going, chief, keep going. Go on, you’ve got another five seconds. Say something outrageous.
JONES: You dirty bastard!
GRUNDY: Go on, again.
JONES: You dirty fucker! [Laughter from the group]
GRUNDY: What a clever boy!
JONES: What a fucking rotter.
GRUNDY: Well, that’s it for tonight. The other rocker, Eamonn – and I’m saying nothing else about him – will be back tomorrow. I’ll be seeing you soon, I hope I’m not seeing you [the band] again. From me, though, goodnight.
The front page headline of the Daily Mirror reads “THE FILTH AND THE FURY!”