Monday, 3 October 2011


It appears there is still no end in sight to the myth that the BBC is to stop using BC/AD.

In yesterday's Mail on Sunday, there were two further articles repeating the claim. The headline on Chris Hastings' follow-up said: Government to save Year of our Lord from BBC's 'Common Era'.

'BBC's 'Common Era'' - as if it is something they have invented or they alone use.

There is also a comment piece from former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey. It begins:

Dionysius Exiguus would be dumbfounded at the attempts by the BBC to issue guidelines that amount to ditching the well-known terms in our calendar, BC and AD.

Remember the BBC stated last week:

The BBC has issued no editorial guidance on date systems.

Curiously, Carey then states:

I always try to be fair to those whose views challenge my own, so let us listen to what the guidelines say

Well, it's not being 'fair' if you say something is a guideline when it's not, and it's not being 'fair' if you pretend the BBC hasn't said something it has. If he had listened to what the BBC had said, he wouldn't need to make this assumption:

So why does the BBC wish to challenge and, we assume, discard this ancient usage?

The BBC stated very clearly that on this issue:

the decision rests with the individual editorial and production teams. 

Yet Carey says:

I would like to think that the BBC might rethink the guidelines it has sent out to its programme directors

It is also worth noting that the story has, once again, been denied - this time by the BBC's Head of Religion and Ethics, Aaqil Ahmed. On Friday, he wrote:

The story, suggesting we had dropped AD (Anno Domini) and BC (Before Christ), was quite simply wrong. We have issued no editorial guidelines or instructions to suggest that anyone in the BBC should change the terms they use. The BBC, like most people, use BC and AD as standard terminology.

But we recognise that it is possible to use different terminology, and that some people do: that is what is reflected on our Religion website. Even though we told the newspaper this, they ran the story anyway.

Just for the record, for our religion and ethics programming on BBC television and radio we generally use AD and BC. It is a shame that people seeking to make mischief should cast a shadow over the wonderful celebration of our Christian religious heritage that is Songs of Praise.

(Angry Mob has also written about Carey's article, while Five Chinese Crackers has awarded the Mail and Mail on Sunday his 'Tabloid Bullshit of the Month Award' for this story.)


  1. Talking of "Mail" bullshit, this breathtaking piece of dishonest reporting was put up online from 8.50 to 9.30 on Monday night, when some sub editor at "Mail Online" thought Amanda Knox and Rafaele Sollecito had lost their appeals and published the wrong article. I've posted it elsewhere, but it should be as widely circulated as possible -

    "As Knox realized the enormity of what judge Hellman was saying she sank into her chair sobbing uncontrollably while her family and friends hugged each other in tears.

    A few feet away Meredith's mother Arline, her sister Stephanie and brother Lyle, who had flown in especially for the verdict remained expressionless, staring straight ahead, glancing over just once at the distraught Knox family.

    Prosecutors were delighted with the verdict and said that 'justice has been done' although they said on a 'human factor it was sad two young people would be spending years in jail'.

    Both Knox and Sollecito – who have always denied any involvement in the brutal murder - said they would take the case to the third and final level of appeal at the Supreme Court in Rome where it will probably be heard late next year."

  2. What is astonishing is that the Daily Heil stole my comment about Dionysius Exiguus and his coining of BC and AD, but managed to drop the fact that he also coined Common Era meaning that the ear since Christ was now the Christian common era

  3. They perpetuate the myth because they want self-righteous religious pricks to get pissed off and start making a fuss, so they can sell papers on the back of the arguments. It is absolutely the right thing to do to point out these liars for what they are every time they come up in conversation.

  4. It's not just to sell newspapers though. It's because it's the Beeb innit?

    Try to build up a case for Auntie being PC-gone-mad or anti-British or Commie Pinko gay-loving subversives and there you have it; little public support for the institution making it easier for the government to get rid of it. They're doing the same with the NHS, state education, et al.

  5. Re the Amanda Knox thing - it must be quite common for newspapers to try to get breaking news in their papers or website before dawn by pre-writing two alternative stories. What really beggars belief though is the extent to which they described the court scenes: 'sobbing uncontrollably while her family and friends hugged each other in tears'. No doubt had the two been found guilty that story would have been published even if Knox had not cried at all. Unbelievable.

  6. And to think this is the same newspaper that felt we had to move on from phone hacking because there were more important issues to address. Oh, the hypocrisy.

  7. Looks like the Catholic church swallowed the Mail's bullshit if the latest 'story' is to be believed. The lie has been repeated so often it has now become fact:

    "The new guidance from the BBC asserts that the abbreviations for Before Christ and Anno Domini (the Year of the Lord) infringed its protocols on impartiality.
    It instructs employees to instead replace them with the non-religious phrases BCE and BC – Before Common Era and Common Era."


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