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Radio 1 will not play Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead in full on chart show

By | Published on Friday 12 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher

The BBC has said that the Radio 1 Chart Show will not play ‘Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead’ in full on Sunday, when it is likely to appear in the top five of the UK single chart. Instead, there will be a short news item on the campaign to get it to number one following the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, in which a brief clip of the song will be played.

In a statement, the BBC said: “The BBC finds this 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”.

Explaining the decision, Radio 1 Controller Ben Cooper said in a blog post: “On one side there is the understandable anger of large numbers of people who are appalled by this campaign. On the other there is the question of whether the chart show – which has run since the birth of Radio 1 in 1967 – can ignore a high new entry which clearly reflects the views of a big enough portion of the record buying public to propel it up the charts. Above all, in the middle of this furore is a grieving family. Nobody at Radio 1 wishes to cause offence but nor do I believe that we can ignore the song in the chart show, which is traditionally a formal record of the biggest selling singles of the week. That in turn means that all songs in the chart become an historic fact”.

He continued: “I’ve therefore decided exceptionally that we should treat the rise of the song, based as it is on a political campaign to denigrate Lady Thatcher’s memory, as a news story. So we will play a brief excerpt of it in a short news report during the show which explains to our audience why a 70 year old song is at the top of the charts. Most of them are too young to remember Lady Thatcher and many will be baffled by the sound of the Munchkins from the ‘Wizard Of Oz'”.

Finally, he said: “To ban the record from our airwaves completely would risk giving the campaign the oxygen of further publicity and might inflame an already delicate situation”.

As previously reported, the Daily Mail was particularly vocal in its opposition of the BBC playing the 1939 song from the soundtrack of ‘The Wizard Of Oz’.