Sunday, July 21, 2024
HomeBBC WatchThe Beeb goes from bad to verse

The Beeb goes from bad to verse


THE BBC has ‘shared’ with us a verse composed by Poet Laureate Simon Armitage to mark the corporation’s 100th anniversary.. I wish it hadn’t bothered.

Entitled Transmission Report, it’s not Armitage’s best effort. In fact, it has more than a touch about it of William McGonagall, the Scottish versifier generally acknowledged as the worst poet in history. 

The poem starts:

It’s the year two thousand and twenty two
on planet Earth, apparently, and I’m careering
through time and space, careening
between galaxies, scanning the frequencies.
The weather is mostly cosmic drizzle,
and the media mostly celestial drivel,
but for a century now I’ve picked up a station
called ‘the BBC’. And despite occasional
have experienced
deep vibrations
in my brain cells, tear ducts and funny bones. 

It drones on in the same manner for a few more lines.  

It reminds me of Baldrick’s war poem in Blackadder Goes Forth, of which Blackadder says: ‘Well, it started badly, it tailed off a little in the middle and the less said about the end the better. But apart from that, excellent!’

In fact, I reckon the Poet Laureate’s offering is so bad that if McGonagall (1825-1902) were alive today, he’d probably accuse him of plagiarism.  

By the same token, old William – whose masterpiece was The Tay Bridge Disaster – would certainly have felt compelled to put his own inimitable poetic stamp on the BBC centenary. Let’s see how he might have handled it . . .

Oh, Over-Mighty Towering Edifice of the BBC!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That on October 18 in the Year of our Lord Two Thousand and Twenty-Two
A century passed since a wireless broadcasting opportunity was given you
And has been unfortunately squander’d. 

I must allow that back in the Year of Our Lord Nineteen Twenty-Two your road was with good intentions paved (and Perdition was not pending)
And you later said: ‘Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation’
But in these times contemporary, you speak with tongue a-forked
Which many will agree is deserving of condign condemnation.

Like the Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay, which was blown down on the last Sabbath day of 1879
Your reputation for fairness and impartiality has come crashing to utter destruction
And unless you undergo a conversion Damascene
There will undoubtedly from folk outraged by your blatant bias be further righteous fury and ruction.

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Weaver Sheridan
Weaver Sheridan
Weaver Sheridan is a wannabe best-selling novelist, one of his efforts being the Fifties Franny series, available on Amazon Kindle books.

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