The BBC tradition of trying to remove patriotic songs from Last Night

29 August 2020

9:00 AM

29 August 2020

9:00 AM

About Last Night

It was suggested that the BBC might ‘decolonise’ the Last Night of the Proms by removing ‘Rule, Britannia’ and ‘Land of Hope and Glory’. ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ made its first appearance at the Proms in 1902 (Edward Elgar’s march had been played the previous year without the words). Sir Henry Wood’s ‘Fantasia on British Sea Songs’ followed in 1905. But the Last Night in its modern form began only with the first televised Last Night in 1947. Twenty-two years later began another tradition: the BBC trying to remove patriotic songs from the programme. The move was defeated in 1969 and again in 1990, in the run-up to the Gulf War. In 2001, the traditional anthems were dropped following 9/11 but reinstated the next year.

Stormy summers

Heavy thunderstorms and high winds were attributed to climate change. A reminder of the weather in Augusts past:

1588: Violent south-westerly gales contributed to the defeat of the Spanish Armada.

1891: Ten inches of rain measured in the Lake District.

1912: Storm brought force 6 winds inland and delivered eight inches of rain near Norwich; 42 road bridges and five railway bridges were destroyed and 15,000 people were left homeless.

1924: Storm brought 9.4 inches of rain to the Quantocks.

1952: Ten inches of rain on Exmoor led to the Lynmouth flood disaster, killing 34 people and leaving 400 homeless.

1956: Thunderstorms left streets knee-deep with hailstones in Tunbridge Wells.

1979: Force 11 storm led to 15 deaths in Fastnet yacht race disaster.

Biggest killers

The official global death toll from Covid-19 passed 800,000. How does that compare with other causes of death?

Of the 56.8 million deaths globally in 2016:

Cardiovascular disease | 17.8m

Cancer | 9m

COPD | 3m

Lower respiratory diseases | 3m

Digestive disorders | 2.5m

Neonatal conditions | 2.2m

Alzheimer’s | 2m

Diabetes | 1.6m

Murder/suicide | 1.5m

Road accidents | 1.4m

Diarrhoea | 1.4m

Tuberculosis | 1.3m

Kidney disease | 1.2m

HIV/Aids | 1m

Nutritional deficiencies | 453,000

Source: WHO

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