Our satirical writer Edwin Phillips reads a news release from The BBC extolling the virtues of its broadcast of Prince Philip’s funeral after controversial Welsh television presenter Huw Edwards was fiercely attacked in the media, and the corporation recorded a record number of complaints about its ‘wall-to-wall’ coverage.
From: Prince Regional Airing Team (PRAT)
To: All Regional Staff Editorial (ARSE)
Time: Before darkness falls
Everyone has lauded as a triumph our coverage of the funeral of HRH the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Member of the Order of Merit, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order upon whom had been conferred the Royal Victorian Chain, Grand Master and Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom, one of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, Admiral of the Fleet, Field Marshal in the Army and Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Husband of Her Most Excellent Majesty Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, Sovereign of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.
Let us also not forget he was Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark too – and the critics should be ignored who say he ‘happened to have been born to the right parents’.
It should not be dwelt on that after our triumphant transmission, a number of UK newspapers said viewers “switched to ITV”, or that it was claimed our esteemed presenter Huw Edwards had ‘talked over’ footage.
PRAT understand that the Express reported following our highly successful broadcast: “Criticism of the BBC’s extensive coverage of Prince Philip’s funeral has begun to flood social media sites, particularly presenter Huw Edwards’ commentary”.
The Mail apparently described Mr Edwards’ “constant inane chatter”, while The Sun said: “…his presenting left many viewers reaching for the remote”.
The BBC welcome all feedback from viewers, especially in the record number of complaints about the amount of coverage we are dealing with, when we have been accused of being “obsequious”.
We fully support colleagues in the news department of The BBC, who are not allowed to report Prince Philip’s many affairs, that he did not sleep in the same bed as the Queen, or that it is seen as boringly bourgeois in the aristocracy, to maintain monogamy during a marriage.
As is clear, The BBC have been widely applauded, including that our reporting online was headlined: “Prince Philip: Royal Family honours duke’s ‘humour and humanity’”.
PRAT urge that it should be ignored that in presenting our much-welcomed transmission of the funeral, Mr Edwards’ booth was next to a car park overlooking the souvenir shop, whereas ITV’s was near Windsor Castle and a green lawn on a bright, spring day.
It is as well a PRAT belief that it was nonsense, a YouTube commentator accused our hugely-popular transmission, of being “indefensible” a “disgrace”, and “appallingly unprofessional”.
Evidently the success of our coverage has been acknowledged by the man who presented it.
Mr Edwards has announced on Facebook (FB): “A message from my Windsor shed. I am so proud of all my BBC colleges for setting world-class standards of broadcasting. And the viewers overwhelming verdict (!) says it all. Diolch o galon i bawb.”
This heart-warming message was accompanied by an emoji of two hands clasped.
The tremendous reception given for The BBC broadcast of the funeral, justifies on its own the salary for Mr Edwards (who rightly wore a dark suit and tie during our coverage) which was reported to be between £520,000 and £529,999 as of July 2018.
PRAT are aware that unfortunately in the past he has been strongly attacked for bias by publicly showing support for Wales, as well as opposition political parties on social media.
He was regrettably ordered by his superiors to drop a post of himself in front of a Welsh flag, which he declared (with his well-known humour) was to be a “backdrop for @BBCNews at Ten”.
Mr Edwards also correctly stepped in following the performance of the Welsh rugby team being criticised in The Daily Telegraph before a crucial match in The Six Nations tournament.
“Every Grand Slam ranked – and why Wales would be the ‘worst’ ever winners if they beat France”, ran the newspaper’s absurd headline, to which Mr Edwards understandably responded with heavy irony: “Not like the The Telegraph to be so effortlessly one-sided… Cymru am Byth!”
Using social media on the eve of the game (when during it, the rugby punditry of his esteemed BBC colleague Jonathan Davies was also praised on social media), Mr Edwards proclaimed: “Gutted my pro-flag tweet has been cut down in its prime. By order. But it will be back tomorrow – by popular demand. Meanwhile enjoy this magnificent flag – one of my favourites. Hashtag SixNationsRugby Hastag FRAvWAL” – with a series of emojis included.
Before the gripping match, one of the many supporters of Mr Edwards’, shared a series of pictures on Twitter (including a touching one of him being licked by his dog), which he showed his approval of, by saying: “Share the love this epic thread was the tonic I needed – before kick off”.
We at PRAT recognise that unfortunately his announcements have not been met with wild acclaim by the leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru (WP/SC), Andrew RT Davies, who has said on Twitter that The BBC was: “Employing presenters who openly mock… (Britain)… Ridiculous!”, and linked it to the ‘Gutted’ post.
However The BBC welcome the fact that these messages fall into a familiar pattern, with, in an earlier post Mr Edwards endorsing an opinionated columnist who said she was a “Welsh woman” and that The BBC Proms made her feel like a “foreign tourist”.
He had wonderfully backed the writer and academic Laura McAllister’s Twitter announcement that there was less than two months before she stood for election to a football governing body’s council, proclaiming, initially again ironically showing once more his famous humour:“Obviously I’m impartial —- but GO LAURA” with a Welsh flag after the comment.
Obviously this shows Mr Edwards’ support for people of substance, as Ms McAllister had stood for the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru (PC) in 1987 and 1992.
PRAT note with satisfaction that six years ago (well before the synthetic row over how the proms are presented), she had written in her regular Welsh newspaper column: “I do realise that my national identity has been shaped and expressed largely through sport, but the Proms’ Union Jack waving (albeit with a smattering of European, Welsh and Scottish flags mixed in) and Rule Britannia make me feel like a foreign tourist”.
Yet it is true that by supporting Ms McAllister so publicly, using social media to emphasise his defence of all things Welsh and Labour policies, as well as now ‘forcing viewers to switch to ITV‘ because of his coverage of Prince Philip’s funeral, Mr Edwards has posed a dilemma for his overall boss, the highly-respected Director General of the BBC, Tim Davie.
Mr Davie’s job is enormously stressful, and he is constantly aware of the pressure he is under because of recent opinion polls, and that it is crucial his presenters are neutral, because, in Mr Edwards’ case, some may disagree with his views on Wales, and they do, of course, pay his wages.
The BBC rules declare: “If your work requires you to maintain your impartiality, don’t express a personal opinion on matters of public policy, politics, or ‘controversial subjects’”.
They also firmly state that staff should avoid using disclaimers such as ‘My views, not the BBC’s’ in their biographies and profiles, as they provide no defence against personal expressions of opinion.
The BBC have examined the behaviour of Mr Edwards, and found that it totally adheres to our strict rules on impartiality – as has those of others.
Recent messages on social media, are luckily not the first time that Mr Edwards has made his opinions plain and The BBC have backed them.
He was ridiculously accused of political bias, after he ‘liked’ a tweet saying: “Vote Labour for the National Health Service”.
Another Tweet he published, again seemed to go against the guidelines although was not rule breaking, highlighting as it did (once more ironically and revealing the humour of Mr Edwards): “The wacky world where Wales was never a nation and Pembrokeshire is the heartland of… Plaid Cymru. Help!”.
We are pleased to see that the picture he attached underneath it, was of protesters carrying Welsh flags aloft, with a placard of END LONDON RULE clearly visible near the centre of the photograph.
Recently he understandably attacked, too, a critique of the break-up of the UK by historian and journalist Max Hastings, who he fairly claimed had made “errors” in his article.
Mr Edwards’ comments in support of Wales are often regrettably seized on by a nationalist website which is backed by the taxpayer.
Following his reasoned opposition to Mr Hastings, Nation.Cymru (NC) published a news piece saying: “Huw Edwards slams former Telegraph editor for anti-Welsh language article”.
After the remark about PC it justly ran a story that: “Broadcaster Huw Edwards has protested the BBC’s new rules on using social media by unleashing a cascade of Welsh flags”.
These rules are always followed at The BBC, as shown by the comments of our esteemed newsreader Mr Edwards, who once more covered himself in glory with his presentation of our widely praised coverage of the funeral of HRH The Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Member of the Order of Merit, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order upon whom had been conferred the Royal Victorian Chain, Grand Master and Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom, one of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, Admiral of the Fleet, Field Marshal in the Army and Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Husband of Her Most Excellent Majesty Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, Sovereign of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.
END OF TRUTH
Tomorrow – how the leader of a controversial Welsh independence group that claims to “believe in an inclusive citizenship”, has publicly declared that he wishes Germany had won World War One, ironically proclaimed that “Stalin had no choice”, and questioned the fight against Hitler.
Our Editor Phil Parry’s memories of his astonishing decades-long, award-winning career in journalism (when impartiality was all-important, and which did NOT include being accused of “obsequious” behaviour towards the Royal Family) as he was gripped by the incurable neurological disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book which was NOT funded by the BCW, ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order the book now!