Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Why does the BBC treat Cymraeg as an exotic anachronism ?

Yesterday afternoon there was an episode of the series Restoration Homes which left be somewhat bewildered into the BBC's presentation of Welsh History.

The series follows owners of historic buildings as they restore them into 21st-century dream houses.The show is presented by Caroline Quentin who has an interest in the history and restoration of old buildings, architectural expert Kieran Long and social historian Dr Kate Williams who investigate the histories of the properties.

Yesterdays repeat was of A couple with a small budget attempt to transform a Victorian chapel, Nebo, Hirwaun, in the "Welsh valleys."

So part of the programme investigated the rise of Nonconformity in Wales and visited some of the early Welsh chapels.

In the opening shots of Nebo it was clear that this was a Welsh speaking Chapel from the sign on the entrance but apart from a brief mention that

Apart from a brief mention that the Chapels Eccentric patron, ironmaster Francis Crawshay rejected the trappings of his wealthy family to live amongst his workers, learning Welsh so he could talk to them  there was no attempt to point out that Noncomformity in Wales was largely carried out through the Welsh Language,

In one scene a presenter at an earlier chapel  looked down from where the preacher would stand to address his congregation at the Bible before him  and failed to acknowledge that it would have been printed in Welsh and not the BBC beloved King James version.

Of course time was short but  a mention of  Griffith Jones and his famous Circulating Schools. which even the BBC website acknowledges.

"In an age when there was no compulsory education, when the vast majority of working class people could neither read nor write, Griffith Jones created a system of schooling that by the time of his death in 1761 had taught almost 200,000 people to read".
and even then the language these schools operated  in has been ignored.

All to often when the BBC visit Wales as part of its UK programming   the Welsh Language is treated as an exotic anachronism  confined to a back story not a huge part of our history.

Yesterday John Dixon blogging as Borthlas  on the new BBC charter  wrote

It’s an obvious attempt to find a ‘safe’ Welsh angle on the news by another organisation not particularly well-known for making waves either. But I didn’t think that it was the most significant element of the announcement from a Welsh perspective. For that, we have to go further down the report, until we reach the part where the UK Culture Secretary said that one of the BBC’s “many responsibilities” was to “bring people together” and support “greater cohesion, not least among the nations of the United Kingdom.”

Its almost as if the BBC want to write Welsh Identity out of existence.


  1. They have been doing this stuff for decades. In Scotland both Scots and Gaelic are airbrushed out on mainstream BBC.
    We, in Scotland, Wales and NI, have to realise that the BBC is an imperial English broadcaster with a clear imperative to destroy anything which is not acceptable to their narrow mindset.
    They are propagandists.
    Trust nothing from the BBC.

  2. Glyn - it's in the name, the British Broadcasting Corporation.

    But of course, as you and I both know, to these people English is British and British is English. Even with devolution they can't bring themselves to recognise that other countries share these islands.

    We sometimes get token recognition or a begrudging admission that Wales, Scotland and NI are different but more often than not it's a predominately English service we get, even from so called BBC Wales and its equivalents in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    And since the independence referendum in Scotland we've been bombarded with television programs with Great British etc in the title to ensure that we don't forget that we are all part of Team GB.

    Don't expect it to change any time soon.