BBC – self-censorship of cowardice?

Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland from the tr...

Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland from the trailer for the film The Wizard of Oz. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So the BBC have decided not to play Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead on the Radio 1 Chart Show this Sunday )it currently looks like it will enter the Top 40 at number 3). It will broadcast a “short clip” during a news item explaining why it is in the charts.

The BBC issued this statement:

The BBC finds this campaign distasteful but does not believe the record should be banned. On Sunday, the Radio 1 Chart Show will contain a news item explaining why the song is in the charts during which a short clip will be played as it has been in some of our news programmes.

Ben Cooper, The Radio 1 controller said on his blog:

Nobody at Radio 1 wishes to cause offence but nor do I believe that we can ignore the song in the chart show, which is traditionally a formal record of the biggest selling singles of the week. That in turn means that all songs in the chart become an historic fact.

I’ve therefore decided exceptionally that we should treat the rise of the song, based as it is on a political campaign to denigrate Lady Thatcher’s memory, as a news story. So we will play a brief excerpt of it in a short news report during the show which explains to our audience why a 70-year-old song is at the top of the charts. Most of them are too young to remember Lady Thatcher and many will be baffled by the sound of the Munchkins from the Wizard of Oz.

Suprised Tin Man

Someone with a heart (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)

There are two sad things about this whole row. First is that if the Tory press, namely The Telegraph and The Mail, had not run this story on their front pages the whole campaign would not have been so successful.

Second, and this one really is the killer, If you’re over 21 you won’t even listen to the chart show! Here’s a test, if you’re over 21 do you even know what’s number 1? Me neither.

The whole issue with Thatcher is not something you can understand unless you were there. Sure everyone will have a view but only those of us that lived through it will understand the strength of feeling that  has led to this whole row in the first place.

The BBC, like the lion has taken the coward’s way out but it looks like a decision made by the scarecrow – who didn’t have a brain. And what’s it all over? Well an iron woman rather than a tin man but both were missing the same thing!


One Comment on “BBC – self-censorship of cowardice?”

  1. Robin Orton says:

    I take particular exception to the phrase ‘…political campaign to denigrate Mrs Thatcher’s memory…’ Firstly, it’s not a ‘political campaign’, it’s a lot of ordinary folk expressing their feeling toward the woman. Secondly, to ‘denigrate’ means to blacken or defame, whereas those same people are, again, merely expressing their viewpoint. The supreme irony of course is that this action will have a lot of youngsters asking their elders what all the fuss is about. On which point, I disagree that you have to have been their to understand the strength of feeling. My observation is that there are a number of younger people who have a very good grasp of the issues, and not merely understand, but fully share, the perceptions of those of us who were there. You don’t hear much from, or even about, such youngsters because they (like the rest of us) are effectively disenfranchised by the blind gallop to the right of all the main parties.


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