international affairs

BBC Opts for Weak Compromise in Margaret Thatcher ‘Witch Is Dead’ Battle

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher gives a press conference, on July 06, 1990 at the end of the NATO summit in London.
Photo: GERRY PENNY/AFP/Getty Images

The anti–Margaret Thatcher contingent in Britain managed to get the Wizard of Oz song “Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead” all the way up to No. 3 on the charts, and yet the protest vote will not be heard in full. The BBC announced today that it will not play the entire track on its weekly Radio 1 chart show, but will instead insert “a news item explaining why the song is in the charts during which a short clip will be played,” pleasing neither side. “I understand the concerns about this campaign. I personally believe it is distasteful and inappropriate,” said BBC director general Tony Hall. “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.” On the plus side, maybe this will convince some outraged kids to start a punk band.

BBC Won’t Play ‘Witch Is Dead’ for Thatcher