Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Bomber Command 'snub'

The front page on the Sunday Express on 17 June screamed 'BBC snubs our Bomber boys':

The 'exclusive' by Marco Giannangeli and David Stephenson revealed:

The BBC was facing an angry backlash last night over its decision to snub the unveiling of the Bomber ­Command Memorial next week.

While the Queen will be honouring the 55,000 Bomber Boys who gave their lives for the country, BBC1 will be showing repeats of Cash In The Attic and Bargain Hunt.

Skip straight to the end of the article, however, and a quote from a BBC spokesman confirms that the BBC News Channel is, in fact, planning to broadcast the service live and BBC2 will broadcast a 50-minute tribute programme at 5pm (repeated at 11.20pm). Furthermore, the spokesman says:

"The Bomber Command Association are happy with our plans and have been working closely with us."

Some 'snub'.

So what's behind this story appearing on the front page? Firstly, the paper's owner - Richard Desmond:

donated £500,000 to the memorial fund to match £500,000 raised by our readers.

Secondly, Desmond owns Channel 5 and wafer-thin attacks on the BBC are not uncommon on the Sunday Express' front pages (see, for example, this and this).

So what is Desmond's Channel 5 doing to honour the Bomber Command? In what way will its coverage surpass that of the BBC?

According to the listings for 28 June on the Channel 5 website, when the midday service takes place the channel will be showing...Extreme Fishing with Robson Green.

Correction: a repeat of an episode of Extreme Fishing with Robson Green.

So Channel 5 isn't broadcasting the ceremony live, unlike the BBC. Will there be a special programme later, similar to the one the BBC is showing?

Nope. There are three different Big Brother programmes, a film about tornadoes, Monkey Life, The Baby With a New Face, Big Body Squad, two hours of soaps...but nothing on Bomber Command.

When will the Sunday Express also report on this 'snub'?


  1. Love your blog but feel it is stronger when your comment/analysis is totally dispassionate. Rhetorical questions take you from news into comment. Just my 5p's worth, as an avid reader.

  2. Desond is utter sewage!

  3. And judging by the design of the Express' front page they think giving away free stuff is as important as the story - which has about 3 short paragraphs of space. I also love it when they use "last night" in their stories as if a crisis has just broken when really its been happening for months.

  4. I am so very glad that someone like yourself takes the time and trouble to point out this sort of outrageously misleading reporting in the papers. It is so deeply distressing that it goes on in such a cavalier way and realising that so many readers "swallow it whole".

  5. And I bet ITV are 'snubbing' Bomber Command as well...

    1. Well there's a programme about them on the 3rd of July on ITV1 so...


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