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BBC bosses attacked over shameful 'neglect of Britishness' after scrapping Radio 4 theme


Back in 1978, Radio 4 started each daily broadcast with an orchestral arrangement of traditional British and Irish airs, which were complied and arranged by Fritz Spiegl and Manfred Arlan respectively. However, the UK theme stopped being played each morning in April 2006 and was instead replaced with a news briefing and shipping forecast. However, journalist Colin Brazier recently dug up the classic wake up call, before reminiscing fondly online about how the arrangement represented each nation of the UK “equally”. 

He wrote on Twitter: “For decades Radio 4 started each day with this Theme For Britain, a musical rendering of our country with each nation represented equally.

“15 years ago it was scrapped by BBC bosses whose attitude tells us something about London’s neglect of Britishness.”

Social media users were quick to share their agreement over the “shameful” decision to scrap the daily song. 

One person wrote: “Remember it well – quintessentially British.”

Another added: “It’s such a shame.

“The British Isles’ folk song tradition needs to me more widely known.”

A third person also said: “I used to love listening to that early every morning.”

A fourth social media user added: “There was no reason to get rid of it.”

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A number of MPs also submitted Early Day Motions about the theme being cancelled.

This resulted in then Prime Minister Tony Blair being asked a question about it at Prime Minister’s Questions, where he noted the “strong feeling” being felt around the UK.

And in protest, BBC Newsnight presented Jeremy Paxman also played the UK theme to end his programme several times.

The backlash did not deter the BBC, with the broadcaster responding by releasing a new Radio 4 schedule that would replace the theme.

Mr Damazer did acknowledge that the audience was “upset” by the decision.

He said: “I’m sorry that part of the audience is upset by the removal of the UK Theme.

“They may like to know that we will be offering the UK Theme as a stream on the Radio 4 website, where it will be available from Friday, April 21.”

Express.co.uk has contacted the BBC for a comment. 


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