BBC Proms row: Boris Johnson hails U-turn & blasts 'orgy of national embarrassment' in censoring history

BORIS Johnson has called for an end to the “orgy of national embarrassment” about Britain’s history after the BBC u-turned on their “crazy” censorship of patriotic Proms songs.

The Beeb scrapped the singing of the historic tunes over their perceived links to colonialism and slavery but today reversed their decision after a public outcry.

In one of the first acts in charge, new BBC boss Tim Davie lifted the woke ban on Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory being sung at this year’s Last Night of the Proms.

After major backlash over their fears of upsetting politically correct campaigners with the crowd pleasers, the new Director General climbed down and said the annual singalong must be “special and a Last Night truly to remember."

The Sun revealed at the weekend that the new BBC boss was considering a U-turn after the "terrible damage" to the corporation.

Last week the PM had entered the row, too, by blasting the "cringing embarrassment" over Britain's history.

Today the BBC finally backed down and said "both pieces will now include a select group of BBC singers".

A statement from the Beeb added: "We have been looking hard at what else might be possible and we have a solution.

"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."

It won't be a full choir and there will be no audience due to Covid-19 fears.

Mr Davie’s decision was hailed by politicians from across the political spectrum.

The PM told Tory MPs this afternoon: "I do think this country is going through an orgy of national embarrassment about some of the things that other people around the world love most about us.

"People love our traditions and our history with all its imperfections. It's crazy for us to go around trying to censor it.

"It's absolutely absurd and I think we should speak out loud and proud for the UK and our history."

It's absolutely absurd and I think we should speak out loud and proud for the UK and our history.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden also welcomed the decision after piling pressure on the Beeb to change tack.

He said: "Pleased to see common sense has prevailed on the BBC Proms."

A Cabinet source said they were delighted with Mr Davie’s “new broom” at the BBC and said it was clear the new Director General was determined to make his own mark on the corporation.

Government insiders directly attributed the climbdown to Mr Davie.

Actor Laurence Fox, who had been leading the campaign for the Beeb to u-turn, said: "WE BLOODY DID IT!

"You are all amazing! They have to listen if we speak loud enough. Well done. I’m so happy!"

And Brexit boss Nigel Farage said at the development: "This just shows the power of public pressure and how hopelessly out of touch the BBC are with their own licence fee payers."

Even Labour boss Sir Keir Starmer welcomed the decision.

Sir Keir's spokesman said: "It is the right decision, we said a few weeks ago the pomp and pageantry is a staple of the British summer."

And former Labour big beast turned TV star Ed Balls said it was a “good decision”.

Andrew Bridgen added: "The Great British public forced the BBC to yield. Rule Britannia."

Brits reacted with delight, too.

Garry Bennett said: "Common sense at last. Was always going to happen after the outcry.

"Stupid BBC for even thinking nothing would be said…"

Nicola Moore added: "YES! Should never have had to have the debate in the first place."

Jenny Clapton said: "So it should be! Absolutely ludicrous to try and stop it in the first place."

It was reported yesterday that the new BBC chief had threatened to axe comedy shows for being too left wing.

Davie is reportedly set to axe a series of shows, and in his first speech on Thursday will try to restore “trust and confidence” in the BBC.

He's also reported to be prepared to clamp down on presenters cashing in and working for private companies or hosting posh corporate events.

Davie is reported to be considering making corporation stars declare any outside earnings.

The corporation faced a huge backlash over the decision not to allow Rule Britannia to be sung at the Proms.

The Beeb said “artistic reasons” were behind its decision amid claims it acted over the song’s links to our colonial past.

But insiders had 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.

“With Tony gone, he now has a chance to do a big, crowd-pleasing U-turn on a policy that is wildly unpopular.”

The ex-BBC chairman Michael Grade had also previously blasted the decision not to sing at the Proms, saying the corporation was "too trapped in the Westminster bubble" and has called everything wrong from the referendum to last year's election."


Rule Britannia song lyrics

When Britain first, at Heaven's command
Arose from out the azure main
Arose, arose from out the azure main;
This was the charter, the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sang this strain:
"Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves:
"Britons never, never, never will be slaves."

The nations, not so blest as thee,
Must, in their turns, to tyrants fall
Must, in their turns, to tyrants fall;
While thou shalt flourish, shalt flourish great and free,
The dread and envy of them all.
"Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves:
"Britons never, never, never will be slaves."

Still more majestic shalt thou rise,
More dreadful, from each foreign stroke
More dreadful, dreadful from each foreign stroke;
As the loud blast, the blast that tears the skies,
Serves but to root thy native oak.
"Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves:
"Britons never, never, never will be slaves."

Thee haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame:
All their attempts to bend thee down,
All their attempts to bend thee down
Will but arouse, arouse thy generous flame;
But work their woe, and thy renown.
"Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves:
"Britons never, never, never will be slaves."

To thee belongs the rural reign;
Thy cities shall with commerce shine
Thy cities shall with commerce shine:
All thine shall be the subject main,
And every shore it circles thine.
"Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves:
"Britons never, never, never will be slaves."

The Muses, still with freedom found,
Shall to thy happy coast repair
Shall to thy happy coast repair;
Oh blest Isle! With matchless beauty crown'd,
And manly hearts to guard the fair.
"Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves:
"Britons never, never, never will be slaves."

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