Should Radio 1 play Ding Dong the Witch is Dead on the Official Chart Show?
The Judy Garland song looks likely to be in the Top 40 this Sunday, but is it right for the BBC to play a song that represents an anti-Margaret Thatcher campaign in the week of the former Prime Minister's death and funeral?
"The Official Chart Show on Sunday is a historical and factual account of what the British public has been buying and we will make a decision about playing it when the final chart positions are clear." That’s the BBC’s official line on what’s rapidly becoming one of the more controversial Chart Shows in recent times.
Thanks to an anti-Thatcher Facebook campaign, Judy Garland’s 51-second Wizard of Oz hit Ding Dong the Witch is Dead looks likely to secure a top 40 finish this Sunday – perhaps even make it into the top three. But is it right for the BBC to play the song less than a week after Margaret Thatcher's death, and just days before the broadcaster dedicates the BBC1 schedule to live coverage of the former Prime Minister’s funeral?
Is it a completely disrespectful move by the BBC, or is it unacceptable for the corporation to censor the charts, no matter how sensitive the subject matter? There’s no question that Thatcher was a divisive figure in the UK – but is there a better time and a place for such grievances to be aired? Or is this an expression of political and democratic freedom that should be protected?
What is more, if Radio 1 does decide to play the song on Sunday, how will presenter Jameela Jamil introduce the tune? Will she highlight the reason that it’s there or simply play the track and move on? Would ignoring it actually be more of a victory for the campaign as they have managed to disrupt the usual flow of the show, or is it the only way for the BBC to retain its credibility? However, in not playing the song, are the BBC taking sides and supporting a pro-Thatcher stance?
One thing’s for sure – it’s not a great time to be a producer at R1 towers...
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