Radio 1: Banning record would risk 'oxygen of publicity'

The controller of BBC Radio 1 said the station "could not ignore" the Ding Dong song that has risen towards the top of the charts following Baroness Thatcher's death.

Ben Cooper said:

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.

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.

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.

– Ben Cooper, controller of BBC Radio 1

Advertisement

Ding Dong song No2 in chart

'Ding Dong! the Witch is Dead' failed to reach number one in the official singles chart despite a campaign to promote the song in the wake of Margaret Thatcher's death. The song, which is from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, reached number two.