Friday, 1 April 2016

BBC news

There's a lot of stuff about the BBC this morning, online and in the papers...

According to Breitbart London, Bill Sherman, Director of BBC Music and controller of BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, has placed a temporary ban on The Clash's Should I stay or should I go? 

The song will not be broadcast on any of the BBC's music stations until after the 23 June referendum. Why? Well, it seems because of the (very catchy) lines, Should I stay or should I go now? / If I go there will be trouble / An' if I stay it will be double. 

According to the BBC's Mr Sherman, these could sway some listeners into believing that 'staying' in the EU would result in 'double' the 'trouble' that 'going' out of the EU would result in. "The BBC holds its commitment to impartiality dear", said Mr Sherman, "and impartiality is in our genes".

Nigel Farage is quoted as saying the BBC is "frankly barking".

And, to be honest, it's hard not to agree with Nigel when, if what the Daily Mail is reporting this morning is true, serious double standards are in operation at the BBC (so no surprise there then!)...

Apparently, Radio 2's Jeremy Vine broadcast The Communards' Don't leave me this way and Chicago's If you leave me now during a Brexit debate between Labour's Alan Johnson and the Conservatives' Annunziata Rees-Mogg on last Tuesday's show.

Pro-Brexit Tory MP Andrew Bridgen is reported as having complained to the BBC. saying that the BBC is "showing its pro-EU bias yet again". And, frankly, who can blame him?

The most surprising story today though comes from The Guardian's Media Monkey. (In fact, I could hardly believe what I was reading to begin with.) Linking to a press release from the BBC Media Centre, the Monkey reports that the BBC is reviving El Dorado - the 1990s soap opera about British ex-pats living in Spain - for a one-off, one-week run in mid-June.

During it's original run, El Dorado was famously mocked for its amateurish acting and unconvincing accents and was ignominiously cancelled after a year. It seems, however, that even that isn't going to stop the BBC from bringing it back in June - just before the referendum vote.

A BBC spokesman dismissed criticism of the decision (from Tory MP Andrew Bridgen) and told Media Monkey that, yes, the programme will touch on the fears of some of the characters about being forced out of the Costa del Sol should the UK vote to leave, but the issue will be handled "with due impartiality". So that's all right then.

By coincidence, I was listening to Radio 4's The World at One yesterday and heard it announced that, between both WATO and Eddie Mair's PM,  Radio 4 will be running a regular series of reports from all 27 other EU countries over the coming weeks and months.

From what I can gather Mark Mardell is going to be canvassing views about a possible Brexit from the people and politicians of all those countries, and - the series's USP - talking to British ex-pats living in each and every one of them.

The series starts next Monday - according to the trailer - with a retired British junior doctor who has been living in Latvia for two years now and loves nothing more than watching the Bewick swans arriving there from the UK because they "remind him of himself" and of the free movement within the EU that makes his happy life in Latvia possible.

I'm frankly gob-smacked that Mark Mardell has been able to wangle not one but 27 license-fee-funded jaunts on the strength of this! How does he do it?

Meanwhile, The Times (£) is reporting a highly controversial choice of Book of the Week on Radio 4 during the first week of June.

Extraordinarily, given its closeness to the date of the referendum, Radio 4 has decided to serialise former EU president Herman van Rompuy's autobiography, From Brussels to Brussels: Bringing the European Dream Alive - a book Amazon claims has been described as "a page turner" by Professor Timothy Garton-Ash and "literally impossible to put down" by Will Self.

According to the blurb, the reader for Radio 4 will be Derek Jacobi.

Pro-Brexit Tory MP Andrew Bridgen is said to have complained to the BBC. saying that the BBC is "showing its pro-EU bias yet again", and I'm strongly inclined to agree with him here.

On a lighter note The Times is also reporting that the BBC has asked Lord Kinnock to replace Alan Johnson on its show-piece live 4 x 4 referendum Question Time debate at Wembley stadium, after Mr Johnson told them he was unavailable. Although the BBC doubtless thinks Neil Kinnock will make for a persuasive, passionate pro-Remain speaker, I can't wait for him to begin yelling "We're all right!" at David Dimbleby.

Sometimes the BBC is an absolute joke.


  1. The "Let's get a view of this from abroad" is one of the ways the BBC is sneaking its bias under the wire. Will they be doing similarly extensive interviews with the 1.7 million foreigners - yes foreigners - in this country (i.e. non UK citizens) who - by various quirks of history and the determination of the Government to rig the vote - have the right to vote in the Referendum. The answer will be no I think because that would be to highlight one of the grosser inequities of the Referendum. What the hell are non-UK citizens doing voting in our referendum?

  2. Why the hyphen in the word expat which is short for expatriate?