Radio 1 will not play full Ding Dong

Jameela Jamil Jameela Jamil presents the Radio 1 Chart Show

Related Stories

Radio 1 will not play the full version of Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead during Sunday's Official Chart show, even if it reaches number one.

The 51-second song, from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, is currently at number three after a campaign by opponents of the former prime minister Margaret Thatcher who died on Monday.

The BBC said Radio 1's Official Chart Show will play a "short clip" along with a news item about why the track is in the charts.

In a statement issued on Friday afternoon, the corporation said it found the 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," a spokesperson added.

Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper said the clip would be "four or five seconds".

"Difficult compromise"

Speaking to Newsbeat, he said: "The decision I have made is I am not going to play it in full but that I will play a clip of it in a news environment."

He added: "It is a compromise and it is a difficult compromise to come to. You have very difficult and emotional arguments on both sides of the fence.

"Let's not forget you also have a family that is grieving for a loved one who is yet to be buried."

Speaking to BBC staff on Thursday, the BBC's new director general Tony Hall said he personally found the online campaign "rather tasteless" but there could be editorial reasons for playing it if it was number one or the fastest riser this week.

On Friday, he issued a statement in which he said he understood "the concerns about this campaign".

"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," Hall added.

He said that he had spoken to Graham Ellis, acting director of BBC Radio, and Cooper prior to the decision not to play the song in full.

"Political statement"

The decision over whether Radio 1 should play the track during the Chart Show has sparked huge debate.

Sir Gerald Howarth, Margaret Thatcher's former private secretary, said: "If the BBC stoop so low as to broadcast this song, it will offend a great many people."

But Conservative MP Rob Wilson tweeted: "It should be played, she didn't free millions to censor a tiny number of idiots."

Former BBC boss Greg Dyke said Baroness Thatcher would have found the idea of not playing the track "ridiculous".

"If they don't play it they are making a political statement," he told Newsbeat's Chi Chi Izundu.

Meanwhile, an alternative online campaign has been launched to push the Notsensibles' light-hearted punk track I'm In Love With Margaret Thatcher to number one.

The single was initially released in 1980 following Thatcher's election victory although band member Steven Hartley told the BBC News website it had been conceived as a satirical swipe at the former leader.

In 1977 the BBC refused to play God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols when it charted during the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations.

You can read a blog from Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper here.

More on This Story

Related Stories

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.