Sunday 24 March 2019

Of 'Pitching In' and RS Thomas

R.S. Thomas, popping out to welcome English tourists in for a cup of tea and a chat (not)

If only the late, great, English-hating Welsh-nationalist poet, priest and bigot R.S. Thomas were still alive he'd doubtless be penning many an ode of violent hate against the 'English' BBC, despite himself refusing to own anything so modern as a TV. 

The reason? PitchingIngate

As he's not alive, it's been left to non-poets like the Labour leader of Cardiff council and Plaid Cymru’s shadow minister for international affairs and culture (an interesting combination of ministries) to voice the incandescent fury of (a tiny, noisy part of?) the Welsh nation against the BBC's "cultural colonialism".

What's got their goat (or sheep)?

Well, it seems to be partly down to the casting of an English actor - Larry Lamb (who famously played Archie Mitchell in Toytown) - as the lead character in Pitching In, a new, doubtless-as-hilarious-as-ever-these-days BBC comedy drama set in North Wales. 

Even worse, the makers of the programme and its actors are either English or speak with South Wales accents. 

It's to be hoped that Lord Hall, James Purnell and Co. don't have second homes in Wales or the ferocious ghost of R.S. will be haunting them with a fiery vengeance.

P.S. Those who think of R.S. Thomas might well think of him as an unsociable, unsmiling hater of pretty much everything, whether it be tractors, TVs, air conditioning, tourists, English people or anyone Welsh who isn't a long-suffering Welsh-speaking hill farmer, but he could - once every 500 poems (not counting his love poems to birds or the sea) - surprise the world with a human-love-filled poem, such as this one to Mildred, his late wife of 51 years:
We met
under a shower
of bird-notes.
Fifty years passed,
love’s moment
in a world in servitude to time.
She was young;
I kissed with my eyes
closed and opened
them on her wrinkles.
“Come,” said death,
choosing her as his
partner for
the last dance, And she,
who in life
had done everything
with a bird’s grace,
opened her bill now
for the shedding
of one sigh no
heavier than a feather.

1 comment:

  1. I believe Stoke Newington girl Rebecca Front played a character in a radio 'soap' set in Wales. (I heard it on Radio 7 so it must have been a good time ago).
    No doubt she claims Welsh nationality via her maternal grandmother, look you.


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