BBC director general discusses Margaret Thatcher controversy


In a rather classless gesture, British citizens purchased "Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead," by Judy Garland digitally in the efforts to get the song to appear on BBC's chart show on Sunday evening.

What makes the gesture classless is that it was in reference towards British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died earlier this week. While I am not British nor do I totally understand the political climate surrounding her time in office or how it is received now, I never find death funny or think it should be ridiculed. The issue has been all over British television and media this week, since it became apparent that the song would chart high enough to be included.

The BBC released a statement, saying that, “The BBC finds this campaign distasteful but does not believe the record should be banned. On Sunday, the Radio 1 Chart Show will contain a news item explaining why the song is in the charts during which a short clip will be played as it has been in some of our news programmes.”

BBC director general Tony Hall has also discussed the controversy surrounding the song.

“I understand the concerns about this campaign. I personally believe it is distasteful and inappropriate. However, I do believe it would be wrong to ban the song outright as free speech is an important principle and a ban would only give it more publicity. I have spoken at some length with the Director of Radio, Graham Ellis, and Radio 1 Controller, Ben Cooper. We have agreed that we won't be playing the song in full, rather treating it as a news story and playing a short extract to put it in context," he said.

Hall has had a rough go of it at the BBC, since replacing George Entwistle after he left the job after 54 days due to the Jimmy Savile sex scandal and the Newsnight scandal. 

To learn more about how the chart controversy has gone down, read this article from The Guardian. A news clip from Channel 4 discussing it can be seen here, as well.


- Margaret Thatcher
- BBC one

Written by: Hamatosan
Apr 12th, 2013, 5:18 pm

Images courtesy of Mirror (UK).


Level 4 (93%)
Since: 02/Aug/12
Message Posted On Apr 13th, 2013, 6:37 pm

Unfortunately, the world does not work that way. Cheering anyone's death is sickening. Also, I take it no Brits comment about American politics or anything that happens in the rest of Europe, right?

Maybe you did not like her politics. She still is a person and peopled cared for her. Don't act like monsters in their time of sorrow.


Level 1 (23%)
Since: 08/Apr/10
Message Posted On Apr 13th, 2013, 12:26 pm

No figure in British politics no not even Tony Blair, is so widely hated as Margaret Thatcher. Even though it is 25 years since she left active political life thefeeelings against her run deep.


Message Posted On Apr 13th, 2013, 8:09 am
if you're not British, then you are not qualified to comment, that woman had blood on her hands and drove others into dire poverty, by destroying most of the industries in the UK, so please don't comment unless qualified to do so, Margaret Thatcher got what she deserved, the fact that she's not been in politics for over two decades testifies to the fact that she's been the most hated figure in British politics since i was born and I was born in the 50s

Level 1 (1%)
Since: 25/Aug/12
Message Posted On Apr 13th, 2013, 4:27 am

If by "classless" it's meant that all socioeconomic classes in Great Britain joined in, I agree that it was classless.  If boorishness is meant, I disagree. This is a woman who created more problems for Great Britain than she did solutions. That is was so abhorred is obvious by the glee her demise manifested. I can't ever remember so much rejoicing over the death of a public figure  in their own country. That it is so speaks volumes about her policies.


Message Posted On Apr 13th, 2013, 3:17 am

Message Posted On Apr 12th, 2013, 6:37 pm
Im british and i think the BBC need to ban record or not play it , and send a message to these idiots that they have wasted there money.
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