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Ana Asif (I'm sorry)

Peter Rippon | 13:29 UK time, Tuesday, 21 November 2006

We've upset the listeners again.

Broadcasting House logoOn Broadcasting House this week we wanted to pay homage to al-Jazeera's new English-language network.

As imitation is the sincerest form of flattery we thought it would be nice to test an Arabic version of Radio Four. So we got Charlotte Green to present one of Radio Four's more iconic fixtures in Arabic (you can listen here).

I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the listener who found it 'frightening'. I also apologise to the listener who found it too politically correct. That really was not the intention. Finally, I would like to apologise to the listener who thought they had gone mad when listening to it. You have not.

I have.


  • 1.
  • At 02:30 PM on 21 Nov 2006,
  • Gordon Thompson wrote:

Ignore whoever found it frightening, they clearly need a good dose of reality. People like that should not be pampered or apologized to...

  • 2.
  • At 02:47 PM on 21 Nov 2006,
  • Andrew B wrote:

Oh won't someone please think of the children!

  • 3.
  • At 02:51 PM on 21 Nov 2006,
  • Loki wrote:

It's good to know the licence fee is in such good hands. If the BBC management is so eager to implement Arabic into their working practices I might suggest they take their brand of multi-culti metroism to Saudi Arabia or Syria where I'm sure their decadent ways would be most welcome. Now that would be money well spent.

  • 4.
  • At 03:09 PM on 21 Nov 2006,
  • Sam wrote:

I'd imagine that Radio 4 would probably be easier to understand in arabic rather than the ramblings that you usually here, i know the 'comedy' would certainly be far more likely to amuse.

  • 5.
  • At 03:20 PM on 21 Nov 2006,
  • Ashley Fishman wrote:

I have to say that I too was a little alarmed at first by Charlotte Green's reading of the Shipping Forecast in Arabic (especially as it was early on a Sunday morning), but I thought it was quite a fun idea, and something out of the ordinary. A good idea (though perhaps only as a one-off, please!) - well done to Charlotte for her hard work, and for doing it with such her usual style and professionalism.

  • 6.
  • At 03:50 PM on 21 Nov 2006,
  • BW wrote:

Ignore the misery-guts. This is a work of genius.

Just one question (apart from "Am I supposed to be laughing?"), why weren't the numbers given in Arabic?

  • 7.
  • At 03:51 PM on 21 Nov 2006,
  • Philip wrote:

Good on you BBC! Language is the key to understanding. Carry on breaking down those barriers. PS Charlotte Green reading anything is always worth listening to (swoon!)

  • 8.
  • At 05:29 PM on 21 Nov 2006,
  • Aaron McKenna wrote:

I can't help but notice a lot of nose-thumbing at Al Jazeera English from the BBC over recent weeks and months. Bit of a sore point?

  • 9.
  • At 06:27 PM on 21 Nov 2006,
  • Baz wrote:

If you have to apologise for this, then truly Britain is going to hell in a handcart.

Then again if anything is going to make Richard Littlejohn and his ilk discharge steam from both ears simultaneously then the BBC in Arabic would do it. As Andrew B writes (along with a hundred articles in 'The Onion') : "Oh, won't somebody think of the children!"

  • 10.
  • At 09:01 PM on 21 Nov 2006,
  • Mark Morton wrote:

That's fantastic... it reminds me of the good old days of listening to the Shipping Forecast on LW and having foreign station fade in and out behind it!

  • 11.
  • At 09:55 AM on 22 Nov 2006,
  • Jess wrote:

I'm sure the numbers were given in Arabic numerals... even if they were read in English

  • 12.
  • At 10:55 AM on 22 Nov 2006,
  • M. Ross wrote:

I vote you read the Shipping Forecast in a different language every Sunday morning. It'd be tres cool.

  • 13.
  • At 12:36 PM on 22 Nov 2006,
  • Captain Fisheye wrote:

I was sailing the high seas when I was waiting to hear the shipping forecast, as I needed to decide where to sail. As I could not decipher what was said, I ended up in a terrible storm and one of my men was washed overboard. Oh well, he didn't have any family...

Loved it! Did find the Arabic numbers in English a wee bit strange...
Salaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatulla wa Barakaatuhu
(Peace, God's mercy and blessings be upon y'all)

Loki seems to be confusing 'multi-culti metroism' (whatever that is) with humour.

Try some humour Loki, it'll make you less pretentious and you might even enjoy yourself.

  • 16.
  • At 02:43 PM on 22 Nov 2006,
  • TJ wrote:

Loki's sense of humour bypass is very disappointing. The deadpan style makes this very funny indeed. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with the BBC wasting money or being too politically correct - this is deliciously un-PC without being offensive. Well measured.

Salaams etc.

It's hilarious. I cannot believe anyone was seriously offended.

  • 18.
  • At 09:44 PM on 22 Nov 2006,
  • Helen wrote:

this is hilarious!

  • 19.
  • At 10:54 PM on 22 Nov 2006,
  • Joe Chapman wrote:

What aer all the whingers, (fortunately not too many),on about?

  • 20.
  • At 10:58 PM on 22 Nov 2006,
  • John Airey wrote:

Just played it to my wife, and she figured out what it was almost straight away and neither of us are Arabic speakers. Actually, since the numbers and areas were given in English I'd doubt anyone could fail to understand it. Perhaps next week you would just read the numbers and areas, in Jim Davidson broken microphone style?

  • 21.
  • At 11:08 PM on 22 Nov 2006,
  • Julia wrote:

This was wonderful and gave me a great giggle.

Thank you!

  • 22.
  • At 05:26 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Ragnar wrote:

From the flood coverage of EVERYTHING "Middle East", as far as I knew BBC had been taken over by the arabs any way.

How may one tell the difference?

  • 23.
  • At 10:50 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Shahbaz Sikandar wrote:

Good job!

I thought it was hilarious Peter!

Keep up the good work !

We need more of you!

  • 25.
  • At 01:22 PM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • Pete Stockdale wrote:

Fantastic, i've just listened to it. I didn't think it was going to be that funny but it's great!

i think Charlotte deserves some praise for getting it all right. More please.

  • 26.
  • At 02:11 PM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • Georgia Law wrote:

Would help if Sam who is so critical about the ramblings on Radio 4 could spell the word "hear" correctly to make a point!

  • 27.
  • At 11:04 PM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • sue wild wrote:

brilliant...funny......and marvellously strange sounding juxtapositioned with the familiar shipping sites. Now we know how puzzling english sounds to non they don't go all dodgey abt it....please lets have it in a different language once a weeek.....followed by the "real" thing of course for all mariners....rising slowly in thai....gale force in gujerati !!!

  • 28.
  • At 09:28 PM on 25 Nov 2006,
  • Jeremy wrote:

This, it seems to me, broadly shows, the BBC's pro Moslem stance. I mean come on, seriously, isn't it interesting that of all the languages in the world, they choose the Arab one? Peter talks about the question of a muslim reader reader wearing a scarf, but surely that would be an indication of where she holds - no? so if she is allowed to wear it why shouldn't fiona bruce be allowed to wear a cross?

  • 29.
  • At 02:45 PM on 26 Nov 2006,
  • Abigail Orr wrote:

It makes about as much sense in Arabic as it does in English!

  • 30.
  • At 10:06 AM on 03 Dec 2006,
  • wayne wrote:

Oh Auntie, you really must put 9.11.01 behind you. Else we may have to cut your allowance and consider putting you in a home.

I've got to say that was absolutely wonderful, very well done folks!

As the others have said, please please please ignore the strange people who don't have a sense of humour.

Sheesh, if the amount of reporting on a topic was proportional to political allegiance the UK would have become the 51st State a long time ago.. :-(

Chris, an ex-pat down under

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