Saturday 14 September 2019

Last Night Blues (and Yellows)

I started to watch the second half - the climax - of The Last Night of the Proms on BBC One tonight. 

As soon as the cameras turned to the audience, I saw a sea of EU flags from the Prommers, and - this year - the BBC's cameras weren't shy about zooming in on them.

Waitrose must have been quiet in London tonight.


Gone, it seems, are the days when the BBC-One-broadcast second half included heavyweight classical pieces or - pace Sir John Drummond's infamous introduction of Sir Harrison Birtwistle's panic-inducing Panic - anything daring. 

No, it was 'approachable' fare all the way, featuring operetta (starring the can-can) and songs from the musicals before the usual horn-tooting, hand-clapping jollity of Henry Woods's routine sea-shanty fantasia arrived...

...and then, being the modern BBC, it was straight onto an inclusive tour of the UK nations, featuring - I kid you not - choirs in Scotland, with maximum lack of originality, singing The Skye Coach Song ('Speed bonnie coach like a haggis on the wing'and choirs in Northern Ireland, even less imaginatively, singing The London Derriere ('O Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes urgently need an engineer. Call Gerry and Martin's now. Or else'). 

I probably should have stayed to see Rule Britannia, Land of Hope and Glory, Jerusalem and the National Anthem, but that was enough BBC broadcasting and EU flag waving for me tonight. 

In between came yapping with diverse guests. 

(Sorry Katie. I know you're great but, oh, for the days of Richard Baker! Why can't the BBC just introduce the music and shut up?

I probably should have watched the first half on BBC Two. I spy Manuel de Falla and his Three-Cornered Hat on its menu. I do like Manuel de Falla. Hope the BBC didn't ruin it for him by letting in Steve Bray - the Stop Brexit guy permanently protesting outside Westminster - and allowing him to wear a three-cornered blue-top hat with a yellow band while chanting 'Stop Brexit!' in Spanish!


  1. I was cheered to see the Union Jacks behind the orchestra and the large ones hanging from the boxes. I did notice that there were no close ups of the audience singing Land of Hope And Glory. Perhaps the irony was too much for Auntie.

  2. The Proms aren't what they were, and were meant to be. Politicising music and pandering to people who won't bother to even come or watch is typical of the BBC.

  3. We were watching The Last Night of the Proms almost knowing that it was a chance for the disgraceful BBC to play up again.
    I mean what has happened to this event? It has been so dumbed down. And with all those blue E.U flags being waved about, it all became a political event.
    Last year there was controversy with those flags and whether they should have even been brought into The Royal Albert Hall. But this year there was even more of them.
    Were they being given out at the doors?

    The part where the roving cameras leave the Hall and take off to Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland is really quite irritating. Did anyone not notice that when the cameras started roving about yet again while Rule Britannia was being belted out, that those very cameras chose not to go to Scotland or Wales, but only to Hyde Park and N. Ireland.
    Couldn't see the Scots and Welsh joining in on that one.

    We at home were taking bets that the cameramen (who are told who to look out for in crowds) would do a long zooming in close up of the Sikh gentlemen in the BBC Orchestra Choir who was wearing a Union Flag design turban, and that there would be an elongated close up zoom shot of him right at the climax of our National Anthem.
    But alas the BBC resisted unlike 4 years ago when the they absolutely killed it and caused quite a bit of anger by slowly zooming in on a Muslim clad woman audience member right at the empowering climax of Rule Britannia.

    What is it about Nationalism that our BBC so hate these days. Yet they love showing it in other countries.

    For the first time in tv history earlier this year the BBC neglected to remind us on the 23rd of April that it was our Day, St Georges Day... our own 4th July. But it wasn't mentioned on any BBC News bulletin. They would rather the day simply be killed off. The BBC are quite happy to kill off the very little culture we have left. They are a disgrace.

    John....N. London.

    1. Agreed JN, ...What is it about Nationalism that our BBC so hate these days..?

      I smiled at the sight of Prommers there in their blue French berets with EU stars on, singing the National Anthem. The irony came in the second verse. 'May she defend our shores' has been changed by the BBC to 'May she defend our laws'.

      Either way it's hilarious. 'May she defend our shores' to the EU 'national' might mean defending the Finnish border, or the Black Sea borders. The newer version 'May she defend our laws' is even funnier - EU Laws perhaps? But, since last week, it may mean 'defend' the hastily cobbled together Speaker's Law made away from the Government and Executive.

    2. Arthur, I thought I was seeing things when I saw those gentlemen wearing blue French berets with stars on them.
      I thought surely not. But yes, it was an E.U head garment. Next it will be the blue suit adorned in E.U stars.

    3. Yes, these hats appeared last year. The keen observer might have noticed that the EU flags were smaller in size last night - though not in number. Possibly, the BBC did not want to reduce the impact of the LBGT rainbow flag being waved energetically by the soloist Jamie Barton.

  4. The BBC hate the Last Night of the Proms. About 20 years ago they tried to kill it off by taking out all the much loved standard pieces. There was an outcry and they had to relent. Since then they have been chipping away at it by various means, while retaining the outward structure...Next year it will be a transgender soprano...followed by a non-binary...they'll keep going till they have completely undermined the real core meaning which was a celebration of our free-wheeling culture and our refusal to be dominated by other nations. No one ever took the imperialistic lyrics of Land of Hope and Glory too seriously. There was a strong element of goonish humour to the whole thing...


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.