The Royal Mail rejected a postage stamp featuring Benny Hill because his saucy antics contravened company policy on harassment in the workplace.
The Benny Hill Show was one of several suggestions for a set of stamps commemorating the 50th anniversary of ITV. The series ran on ITV for 20 years and is best remembered for the closing credits in which Hill chased an assortment of scantily-clad women.
Newly released minutes from a Royal Mail committee meeting show that political correctness won the day when it came to selecting images to represent ITV comedy. "Benny Hill has been included in previous presentations but concerns were raised by our public relations team as it was in direct opposition to company's policies on harassment in the workplace," the minutes stated.
Instead, the committee chose a picture of a front door from the opening credits of Rising Damp. They also rejected images of Kenny Everett and Miss Piggy.
Bettine Le Beau, who appeared in dozens of Benny Hill sketches, described the Royal Mail's decision as "absurd".
William Brown, contributing editor to the fan site Benny's Place, said: "Frankly, it is a disgrace, but not a surprise. It is part of a politically motivated blacklist. It is what the Soviet Union did with dissidents by just airbrushing them out of history."
A Royal Mail spokesman said: "We wanted to show the widest selection of programmes for the 'best of ITV' stamp issue, and were spoilt for choice with the final selection coming from a very long list of great TV series. It was one of our most popular issues in recent years."
Separate minutes about a set of stamps on a gastronomic theme, issued in August 2005, reveal that images of ice cream, pizza and a full English breakfast were rejected on health grounds. "The mix of foods has been improved upon so that the majority featured were healthy foods, eg Chinese noodles, sushi, tagliatelle pasta and English apples. The chips and tea have been retained as popular to the British people," the minutes said.