Australian comedian Magda Szubanski ‘does a James Martin’

She apologises and will take part in ride to work day

by Kevin Emery   October 1, 2009  

Magda Szubanski

The phrase “doing a James Martin” won’t quite have caught on down under. But TV host and comedian Magda Szubanski was at the centre of some controversy for an anti-cyclist tirade on Monday night's Good News Week.

In a segment where guests can rant about what irritates them, Szubanski expressed her frustration towards lycra-clad cyclists, saying she was fed up with cyclists riding for exercise.

Szubanski and fellow comedian Julia Morris then further raised cyclists' temperatures by suggesting that motorists should "just drive and take them out.”

The comments prompted angry comments on blogs and websites and Szubanski issued a swift apology, and has also pledged to take part in National Ride to Work Day later this month - in lycra.

Szubanski said: “Clearly my joke was stupid and insensitive but perhaps it has brought to light that there are frustrations amongst cyclists and motorists. Hopefully some good will come of this and it will help promote useful dialogue between the two groups."

In a review article on the Tesla Roadster celebrity chef James Martin wrote: “God, I hate those cyclists. Every last herbal tea-drinking, Harriet Harman-voting one of them. That's one of the reasons I live in the countryside, where birds tweet, horses roam, pigs grunt and Lycra-clad buttocks are miles away.”

“Knowing they wouldn't hear me coming, I stepped on the gas, waited until the split second before I overtook them, then gave them an almighty blast on the horn at the exact same time I passed them at speed. The look of sheer terror as they tottered into the hedge was the best thing I've ever seen in my rear-view mirror.”

The article prompted Bradley Wiggins to tweet about it on social networking site Twitter, while cyclists reacted with fury to the comments. Martin was forced to issue a grovelling apology.

8 user comments

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Maggots like Szubanski and Martin should be lined up on the side of the road and have white van man drive as close as he can to them whilst they are standing on a ladder with only one leg and see how much they like "tottering into the hedge's (sic)"

What is wrong with these idiots ?

Oh, its okay though, we apologised afterwards and it was only a joke. Its funny how many imbiciles can get away with that. Wonder how it would have gone down if she was having a dig at the Aborigines (sorry, indigenous Australians), black people, the Pope, Jews or Muslims.....

Cyclists, the latest in a long line of easy targets to poke fun at and "say sorry later" to !

And Magda Szubanski in lycra, no thank you, 5' tall and 80kgs. Hmmmmmm, maybe she should get her fat a4Se on a bike and get some exercise.

Oh and by the way I am only joking....

posted by roadiesean [74 posts]
2nd October 2009 - 10:27


Yes, all is forgiven, no need to atone... just PLEASE don't don the lycra Sick

posted by wild man [295 posts]
2nd October 2009 - 10:53


This is the same person who was mortally offended by the (although unspeakably crass and awful and I'm not defending him in any way) comments of an aussie DJ,28383,26086457-5013561,00.html

Start Cycle Commuting. Write off your car!

posted by step.doran [71 posts]
2nd October 2009 - 11:07

1 Like

“Clearly my joke was stupid and insensitive but perhaps it has brought to light that there are frustrations amongst cyclists and motorists"

yeah, and it's helped how?

purplecup's picture

posted by purplecup [233 posts]
2nd October 2009 - 11:26

1 Like

yeah, burn the witch! burn the witch! Actually do we have to? She's 12,000 miles away and I've only got one box of matches

Spinning on a wheel

Hammy's picture

posted by Hammy [97 posts]
2nd October 2009 - 12:59


Yep, can we burn the witch? I've got a lighter you can borrow.


posted by OldRidgeback [2579 posts]
2nd October 2009 - 17:07


I don't believe this enforced apologizing does a lot of good. B)

posted by BigDummy [314 posts]
2nd October 2009 - 17:17


On the one hand the apology may or may not be sincere on the other it must be pretty shocking for someone who basically makes their living from being popular to find out they've said or done something that is deeply unpopular with a lot of people… maybe it's an example to others.

On the other hand the fact that this happens with monotonous regularity suggests it isn't that much of an example – that said James Martin and whatsername are fairly local celebrities (her celebrity doesn't even extend this far down the page) and that goes to the power of 10 for dumb columnists on local papers.

I think these people need pulling up - it's about society learning to accept different groups. Over the years it's happened with race and sexual orientations… now it's our turn to become part of the mainstream Smile

The only thing I feel slightly uncomfortable about is that as part of a group that's often seemed to be just one step ahead of the lynch mob it feels odd to see cyclists forming one themselves, to mangle metaphors it's a bit like all the foxes getting together to hunt down ruddy-faced men in red coats, but maybe I'm just soft.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
2nd October 2009 - 17:34