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A new chapter in the BBC’s horrible history


CBBC, the BBC channel aimed at children aged 6-12, has put out a programme called Horrible Histories: Brexit, consisting of a series of clips from the long-running children’s history programme, newly ‘curated’ by ‘comedian’ Nish Kumar. 

It may be aimed at kids, but Nish doesn’t hold back on the politically charged, anti-Brexit sarcasm.

A time and a place, Nish? Children’s TV?

In fairness, he has a habit of doing the same routine, whatever the audience. It famously got him booed and breadrolled off stage at the Lord’s Taverners’ Christmas lunch. And again – minus the bread rolls – in Brighton (of all places). 
Here’s a clip from the CBBC programme, courtesy of a BBC tweet:

Our old friend Alex Deane is surely right when he tweeted: ‘I can’t help but feel that the timing of this isn’t a coincidence.’ 

Naturally, comments could be going better and, obviously, most of the complaints understandably concern BBC bias. 

But others are objecting to the ‘onesty of ‘Orrible ‘Istories too, and to the programme’s failings over the basic facts of the matter. 

Of the latter, here’s the most widely cited example:

When the BBC programme tells its young audience, for example, that ‘Tea is not from Britain, ma’am. From India it was brought,’ no, that isn’t so. Tea is from China and was taken to India by the British.

The programme captions in capital letters TEA IS FROM INDIA as a fact for 6-12 year olds to take away, even though it’s not true. 

I can’t wait to read the replies from BBC Complaints and Ofcom to this, as apparently plenty are going in. 

The BBC needs a kick up its sagging Reithian posterior for this kind of thing. 

A longer version of this article first appeared on Is The BBC Biased? on January 31, 2020, and is republished by kind permission.

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Craig Byers
Craig Byers
Craig Byers is a blogger about the BBC, focusing on the issue of BBC bias while living in Britain's finest traditional seaside resort: Morecambe (the one with the Eric Morecambe statue).

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