BBC’s new director general Tim Davie ‘is considering reversing decision not to sing Rule Britannia! at Last Night of the Proms’ insiders say
- Tim Davie is set to take over on Tuesday and could overturn unpopular decision
- BBC decided to remove lyrics from Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory at the Last Night of the Proms and said decision was made due to ‘artistic reasons’
- Proms are being performed without audiences this year due to the coronavirus
The BBC‘s new director general is considering reversing the decision not to sing Rule Britannia! at the Last Night of the Proms, it has been reported.
Tim Davie, who takes over on Tuesday, is understood to believe his predecessor Lord Tony Hall’s move wreaked ‘terrible damage’ to the BBC, insiders have told the Sun.
The Last Night of the Proms has been hit with controversy surrounding the BBC’s decision to remove the lyrics from Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory after critics claimed the patriotic anthems were ‘racist’.
Classical-music enthusiasts have to watch the show from their sofas this year due to coronavirus restrictions as performers remained spaced out in a socially-distanced arrangement.
The BBC’s incoming director general Tim Davie is understood to be considering reversing the unpopular decision to perform Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory without lyrics
Ex-marketing executive Davie could immediately change the policy on not singing the lyrics at this year’s Proms when he takes up the role this week.
An insider told the Sun: ‘Tim’s immediate priority will be to undo the terrible damage done by Tony.
‘Tim has a chance to do a big, crowd-pleasing U-turn on a policy that is wildly unpopular.
‘Tim has already insisted on an announcement making clear that Rule Britannia will be sung at next year’s Proms.’
As it stands, the patriotic songs will be played by an orchestra only on September 12, supposedly because the lack of an audience will diminish their impact.
God Save the Queen and Jerusalem will still be played in full at the event, led by Finnish conductor Dalia Stasevska, 35, which will take place without an audience and with limited performers.
Two thirds of voters in an exclusive Daily Mail poll wanted the £157.50 television charge scrapped and 59 per cent believed the BBC was wrong over the Rule Britannia singing row
Critics have accused outgoing BBC boss Lord Tony Hall, pictured, of ‘walking into a completely unnecessary and absurd row about culture’ after the decision about the Proms was announced
The 1902 lyrics of Land of Hope and Glory are associated with Cecil Rhodes – the British imperialist whose statue is being removed from an Oxford college.
The decision to use instrumental versions of the patriotic anthems for the summer festival has drawn widespread anger – with staff at the corporation also venting their frustration at bosses’ apparent submission to ‘woke’ activists who find the anthems offensive.
One senior insider said: ‘This is another example of the BBC walking into a completely unnecessary and absurd row about culture.
‘It makes a lot of us despair when this kind of thing happens again and again.
‘There’s lots of things you can say about both of the songs and they are not up to the minute. But that’s the case with 99 per cent of our culture one way or the other.’
And ex-BBC chairman Michael Grade launched a blistering attack on the corporation, calling the decision ‘idiotic’ and a ‘ghastly mistake’ by bosses who have ‘lost touch’ with the British public.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this week opposed the BBC’s decision.
He said: ‘I think it’s time we stopped our cringing embarrassment about our history.’
The 1902 lyrics of Land of Hope and Glory traditionally performed are associated with Cecil Rhodes – the British imperialist whose statue is being removed from an Oxford college
The compromise was drawn up after incoming director general Tim Davie – who takes over on 1 September – intervened to insist both Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory were performed in some form.
It comes as an exclusive Daily Mail poll reveals growing public discontent with the broadcaster.
Two thirds of voters want the £157.50 television charge scrapped and 59 per cent believe the BBC was wrong over the Rule Britannia singing row.