Ding Dong causing a right Ding Dong

I wish I could Leslie Phillips to read out that title.

But it is true, isn’t it? (the title, not the Leslie Phillips bit).    That great song from the Wizard of Oz entitled “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” has been hijacked as a “protest song” against Margaret Thatcher.

Which has left the BBC with a bit of a dilemma.   Whilst they can choose not to give it air play they have a problem with what to do during the “Official Top 40” tomorrow as this song is now in the Top 5.    Well they did have a problem, until yesterday it was announced that the song would be played, but only for 5 seconds when it would cut to news footage.


As much as I blogged yesterday that I despise the “celebration” surrounding Margaret Thatcher’s death I think this is a ridiculous decision.   Does that mean then that I think it shouldn’t be played at all?  Nope. I say play it.   Play all of it.


Because the Top 40 is an official account of the top selling music of the week.   It has been around forever.   It reflects what the public are buying.  And if they are buying that song, well then the Top 40 should play it.

The BBC has no remit to ban the playing of this song and I would like to see the ruling they have used in doing so now.

I remember vividly Mike Read deciding he was banning Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood because he felt it inappropriate for a morning show.   Fair enough.   Interestingly whilst the BBC then also banned it from other shows they did permit it to be played on the Official Top 40.

Why not this then?

If you look at the list of songs banned by the BBC most of them are on the list due to the lyrics themselves.   Either they mention drug use  or are deemed to be sexually explicit. Or in the case of “Killing an Arab” by the Cure, inappropriate during the Gulf War.

What is inappropriate about this song?  It is all about context, isnt it?  The BBC are censoring this on the grounds of context.

They created this Ding Dong, not the song itself

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  • If it were me then I would have just played it in full with no further comment, including an explanatory news item instead is just fanning the flames further, nobody will be happy with that, either those who think its funny or those who disapprove. And let’s be honest, in a normal week it is probably only teens that listen mostly, and it won’t mean a lot to them either way. They will probably just use that moment to go and get more food or something!

  • Totally disagree sorry , the sentiment of the reason the song is being bought is the essential element here and playing it sets a dangerous precedent IMO , It seems to follow from the success of the Anti X Factor campaign to get Killing in the Name to Christmas number one , I feel that this new developement (celebrating someones death) Is a dark path that many are not thinking fully through where it will end . As an example take a perfectly reasonable song say “Burn Baby Burn” by Ash , now imagine that the Ex Spurs player Sol Campbell (who is despised by many spurs fans for joining arsenal) has died in a house fire , Some idiot Spurs fan (I use that word reluctantly) Then thinks it would be “funny” to start a campaign to get a perfectly reasonable song to number one in order to “Celebrate” the horrible death of “someone he didnt like very much” . And with the reduction in the number of single sales/downloads now compared to 30 years ago It would not take many copies being bought (20 to 30K) to achieve these nasty objectives. We would not compain if the BBC played somber music for a period if the Queen died tomorrow and although Margeret Thatcher was no Queen I do not feel there are any issues of Censorship with the BBC making an editorial decision as to whether they feel something is offensive for whatever reason.

    Finally in order to get 30,000 downlaod sales just 2000 people would need to spend £10 , Are we really saying that the BBC has to play a song that only 2000 people may have downlaoded to thier 6-8 million regular listeners.

    Rant over , back to being silly and occasionally funny on twitter

  • Playing the song without comment would have robbed this debate of the heat it no doubt craved. A dangerous step is censoring on the basis of what people may be feeling when the song was purchased. What we may buy and under what circumstances is the slippery road in my opinion.

  • I think they should play but with no words.before hand Just introduce the song, play the song and move on. Don’t give it the air time these pathetic, horrible people crave.
    I feel genuinely disgusted about the whole thing. I’m not a fan of Thatcher, not in the slightest but celebrating her death is just disgraceful behavior, mainly for the family left behind having to endure this. They knew most likely it would happen so i’m sure they are trying to shelter themselves as much as they can.
    Although the reason behind the song is bloody awful people bought this as an expression of how they feel. The BBC can’t really say much about that and I think not playing it would cause more problems in all honesty.
    Either way I won’t be listening but I haven’t listened to the top 40 since it all changed anyway!