Friday 31 January 2020

So just what is the BBC broadcasting to children?

As discussed both here and elsewhere...

CBBC, the BBC channel aimed at children aged 6-12, has put out a programme today called Horrible Histories: BREXIT consisting of a series of clips from the long-running children's history programme, newly 'curated' by 'comedian' Nish Kumar. 

It may be aimed at kids, but Nish doesn't hold back on the politically-charged, anti-Brexit sarcasm.

A time and a place, Nish? Children's TV?

In fairness, he has a habit of doing the same routine, whatever the audience. It famously got him booed and breadrolled off stage at the Lord's Taverners' Christmas lunch. And again - minus the British bread rolls - in Brighton (of all places). And, actually, a better question would be: A time and a place, BBC? Children's TV?

Here's a clip, courtesy of a BBC tweet:

Our old friend Alex Deane is surely right when he tweeted, "I can’t help but feel that the timing of this isn’t a coincidence."

Naturally, comments could be going better and, obviously, most of the complaints understandably concern BBC bias. 

But others are objecting to the 'onesty of 'Orrible 'Istories too, and to the programme's failings over the basic facts of the matter. 

Of the latter, here's the most widely-cited example:

When the BBC programme tells its young audience, for example, that "Tea is not from Britain, ma'am. From India it was brought", well, no, that isn't so. Tea is from China and was brought to India by the British.

The programme captions in capital letters TEA IS FROM INDIA as a fact for 6-12 year olds to take away, even though it's not true. 

(I can't wait to read the replies from BBC Complaints and Ofcom to this, as - apparently - plenty are going in). 


You probably knew all this already, but here's where ITBB gives added value...Pedantry about classical music is very much My Thing. 

In the full programme Hilarious Nish (as he's widely known by nobody) recalls Great Europeans of the past, and asks:
Where would we be without Mozart? He composed Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, among other things. 
No, no, no, no, no, no, Nish, you're misinforming the young.

Mozart did not compose Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. The melody is an anonymous 18th Century French tune and Herr Mozart simply wrote a fine set of piano variations on it. And his variations were on Ah vous dirai-je, Maman not Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Poor Wolfgang was in his pauper's grave by the time a British woman, Jane Taylor, wrote Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star to the tune. 

To channel CBBC:
British things, British things. I knew that there were many. (Even the words the BBC ascribes to Mozart.) 
British things, British things, afraid the BBC's wrong when they say there's hardly any.
The BBC needs a kick up its sagging Reithian posterior for this kind of thing. 


  1. I think Nish's business suit is based on a British sartorial invention. He should hang his head in cultural appropriation shame.

  2. How about mentioning the Slave Trade Acts which happened prior to Queen Vics reign? Which she would know about. Might also be worth a shout out to the Royal Navy West Africa squadron. You know just for context.

  3. The Beeb's Brexit Derangement Syndrome has bubbled back up again tonight: BBC Midlands News made much of an entirely confected tale of a visit to Birmingham by the Lille National Orchestra (the visit bit was true, what was untrue was the suggestion that the freedom of movement of orchestras might be under threat)

    More lies from Scotland, where the hordes of pro-EU demonstrators turn out to be a mere handful. Do they think we are blind?


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