BBC Bias Digest 2 September 2020

Mark Duell (Mail online 2/9) reported that the BBC had announced that sung versions of Land and Hope of Glory and Rule, Britannia would be included in the last night of this year’s proms on September 12, reversing an earlier decision that they would not be. Guido Fawkes (2/9) included the full BBC statement:

‘The pandemic means a different Proms this year and one of the consequences, under COVID-19 restrictions, is we are not able to bring together massed voices. For that reason we took the artistic decision not to sing Rule, Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory in the Hall. We have been looking hard at what else might be possible and we have a solution. Both pieces will now include a select group of BBC Singers. This means the words will be sung in the Hall, and as we have always made clear, audiences will be free to sing along at home. While it can’t be a full choir, and we are unable to have audiences in the Hall, we are doing everything possible to make it special and want a Last Night truly to remember. We hope everyone will welcome this solution. We think the night itself will be a very special moment for the country – and one that is much needed after a difficult period for everyone. It will not be a usual Last Night, but it will be a night not just to look forward to, but to remember.’

A report on the BBC’s own website (2/9) reflected the statement and noted the decision had promoted a tweet from culture minister Oliver Dowden that he was ‘pleased to see common sense has prevailed’, while Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had said it was the ‘right decision’. The article noted that performer Chcichi Nwankou, who ran a black and ethnic minority orchestra, had told the BBC that the inclusion of the songs was ‘offensive’.

Mark Duell also reported that other supporters of the decision included television presenter Piers Morgan and actor Laurence Fox.


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