BBC presenter apologises after laughing at ‘freaky’ Welsh language activists’ name

Dan Walker. Picture by @cfcunofficial (Chelsea Debs) London (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A BBC presenter has apologised after making fun of the name of Ffred Ffransis, a prominent Welsh language campaigner.

Ffred and his wife Meinir Ffransis are currently stuck in Peru after a government clampdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Reacting to Ffred Ffransis’ name, Football Focus and BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker said that the name was “freaky”.

“You know when it’s been a long day and stupid stuff makes you laugh?” he wrote on Twitter. “Pretty sure that’s not his real name. Ffreaky.”

Other Twitter users were not impressed, including Ffred Ffransis’ daughter Gwenno Morris, who asked him to publicise her father’s plight.

“Hei Dan! Seen as you mocked my father’s name… He’s stuck in Peru, has a really bad heart condition, having trouble breathing, Raab and the FCO are just not helping at all – they really need reparation flight!” she said.

BBC Radio Cymru presenter Aled Hughes also responded to say: “I’m fairly confident I’ve heard you mention your mam is from Hirwaun? Maybe you should ask her,I’m sure she’d have an idea about the language of your forefathers.”

Dan Walker later apologised, describing himself as a “muppet”.

Tweeting in Welsh, he said: “Please accept my apologies. I am of Welsh stock myself. My mother is Welsh!

“I’m very aware of ‘Ff’ but have never seen it in name. I hope your dad gets home soon.”

 

Crackdown

Ffred and Meinir Ffransis’ family are asking supporters to send a letter to Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford, Secretary of State Simon Hart and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab asking for help to return to Wales.

“Ffred suffers from Left Ventricular Systolic Disorder which affects the heart, and has to take medication and have regular blood tests,” the letter says.

“The disease also makes it difficult for him to breathe and with Cusco’s altitude, it’s having a big impact on him, and his health is deteriorating.

“Both are also in their 70s and therefore in the high-risk category for the Covid-19. We are very concerned about what would happen if they caught the virus out in Peru.”

Ffred and Meinir Ffransis arrived in the city of Cusco in southeastern Peru on Sunday after holidaying in Argentina they were told that flights out of the country had been cancelled.

The 71 and 69-year-old husband and wife from Llanfihangel-ar-Arth in Carmarthenshire were told by the British Embassy in Peru that they needed to leave the country by midnight last night, but could not do so.

Now their family fear that they could be stuck in the country for up to six weeks and are calling on the government to do more to bring them home.

Both Ffred and Meinir Ffransis are prominent members of Cymdeithas yr Iaith and served numerous jail sentences between them since the 1970s while campaigning for recognition for the Welsh language.

Before retirement, they operated an online shop called Cadwyn and their stand was regularly seen at major events such as the National Eisteddfod.

Peru’s government deployed masked military personnel to block major roads in Lima on Monday, while police restricted the movement of people as the country rolled out a state of enforced “social isolation” to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra on Sunday night announced a 15-day state of emergency amid the total closure of the country’s border.

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H.KingHuw J DaviesHywel MoseleyDafydRob Recent comment authors
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j humphrys
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j humphrys

This has definitely got really bad since the Brexit vote. I’d hate to be Polish and in England, regretting that mortgage!

Thomas Moseley
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Thomas Moseley

Ye another muppet making fun of the Welsh language. Perhaps we should start retaliating and attack some of the illogicalities of English spelling: bough/rough/ruff/puff how, Howe, Shrewsbury (pronounced shriwsbury),etc. It is a far more illogical language than Welsh.

Huw Davies
Guest
Huw Davies

Whoever built that language never heard of phonetics. As for Dan, bless him, he’s as thick as they come but shoved onto these talkie programmes because some BBC exec thinks that Dan is nice.

Roger Farquarson
Guest
Roger Farquarson

Bullocks it is logical shown in Victoriana English is shewn as in Shrewsbury. What is wncomunco in English

Mathew Rees
Guest
Mathew Rees

The man was an idiot, but must Nation report on every microaggression against the Welsh language?

Miri
Guest
Miri

Why not? It is important and there is no call to be rude. A person’s name is a part of their identity.

Thomas Moseley
Guest
Thomas Moseley

In my comment above I had forgotten Featherstone-Hough, pronounced Fanshawe

Miri
Guest
Miri

Did you include Cholmondley pronounced Chumlee – or the wonderful Sidebottom, pronounced Siddy-boh – tham ? But I am not making fun of them, perish the thought. It’s just the way languages work. As is the Ff for Ffred.

Thomas Moseley
Guest
Thomas Moseley

Or the surname Death, pronounced De Ath

Wynford Jones
Guest
Wynford Jones

Potayto, Potahto, W*lk*r ,W*nk*r – anghysondebau’r Saesneg

Vinny
Guest
Vinny

Haha good on you Dan. It’s a silly way of making a point about language. His name is Fred. Full stop

CapM
Guest
CapM

Self awareness not really your strong point “Vinny”
It’s a silly way of making a point about language. Your name is Viny. Full stop.

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

A psychiatrist would be fascinated to know why Vinny/Pete has no interest in anything to do with contemporary Wales but goes straight to his keyboard whenever an issue revolving around the Welsh language is being discussed. My guess is a Welsh bloke got off with his bird.

I'r Gad
Guest
I'r Gad

Ffwrch!

Miri
Guest
Miri

Ha ha!

Penderyn
Guest
Penderyn

There are many different deviations of the name frederick, vinny you daft get haha

Dafyd
Guest
Dafyd

Ok Fini

Jonathan Gammond
Guest
Jonathan Gammond

Friedrich, Federico, Frederic, Frederick, Ffred, Bedrich, Frigyes… who is to say whose spelling of this name is freaky? Just plain ignorance.

Miri
Guest
Miri

The man’s name is pronounced the same as the Ff in *off.*
As opposed to F as in of sounded *ov*

L Vincent
Guest
L Vincent

He made an error. He has apologised.

Huw J Davies
Guest
Huw J Davies

Daniel Meirion Walker made a genuine mistake for which he apologised and seems mortified, given his Welsh ancestry. He didn’t think the name was spelled with two Ffs (and no, I’m not swearing). It has clearly only just dawned on Dan that Welsh only uses ff to represent the ff sound. Unlike English. Fine coffee in a French cafe with an English muffin. No reason to think a ff is always needed to make a ff sound if you’ve grown up in English. I’ve been called Hugh, Hue, Hew over the years but I only notice when it’s written down.… Read more »

Sara Evans
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Sara Evans

Huw Davies, thank you. Some are so quick to be affronted. Welsh spellings do look odd to non Welsh speakers. As you say, cut English neighbours some slack…. be kind, we have more to worry about in these uncertain times.

CapM
Guest
CapM

“Daniel Meirion Walker made a genuine mistake for which he apologised and seems mortified…..” It’s useful to identify what the “genuine mistake” was. It wasn’t that he made the comment about Welsh and the Welsh but that he made it very publically. If he’d made it only to others with a similar mind set as him there would have been no “mistake” made. If we rule out DMW being deliberately provocative then the comment itself could for example have been made due to his ignorance or prejudice or sense of the linguistic superiority of English or combinations of. If DMW… Read more »

Huw J Davies
Guest
Huw J Davies

Dan W said, previously in public, that his pronunciation of Welsh names should be better as his grandmother speaks Welsh. However, anyone who has grown up in an English environment is bound to lose whatever Welsh they may have known as very young children. I have relatives born and raised in Wales who mispronounce Welsh names and haven’t spoken Welsh since they were in junior school. Not out of disrespect or malice. It just happens. It doesn’t make them bad people. The simple fact is we are swamped by English words and the usual way of the world is to… Read more »

Rhosddu
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Rhosddu

It was, admittedly, a rather cumbersome attempt originally by Ffrancis to cymricise his English name, but it conforms with Welsh phonetics. CapM is right that Dan Walker’s response to Ffred Ffrancis’s double-f’s is due partly to forgiveable ignorance and partly to a much less forgiveable presumption of English as the yardstick from which to judge other British languages. Otherwise, he would not have described the name as “Ffreaky”. It’s not freaky, Dan, it’s just Welsh (sort of). The matter isn’t trivial, and an apology was definitely due.

Thomas Moseley
Guest
Thomas Moseley

Pe welit.as I remember the line. No g in it

Huw J Davies
Guest
Huw J Davies

Darllen e eto!

Hywel Moseley
Guest
Hywel Moseley

Wedi gwneud! Diolch am fy nghywiro. Yn ol y we (Wikipedia) chi sy’n iawn. Ond nid wyf yn hollol siwr am gywirdeb y we: mae’r g i’m clustiau i yn anghywir.

Huw J Davies
Guest
Huw J Davies

A dweud y gwir ‘roeddwn i wedi meddwl yr un peth! Ond, edrychais ar sawl safle a ‘gwelit’ yw’r gair ym mhob un. Hon yn enwedig
https://www.gweiddi.org/rhifynnau/rhifyn-16-brenhinoedd-a-breninesau/cerddir-cywilydd/

Mewn ffordd mae’n dangos mor hawdd yw i un lythyren fach greu problemau mawr. Mae’r ddau ohonom ni yn weddol rhugl ond y ddau wedi gwneud yr un camgymeriad. Pa obaith i Sais oedd yn meddwl fod e’n gwybod digon o Gymraeg i feddwl fod neb yn sillafu Fred gydag Ff.

Cofion cynnes

Michael Rieveley
Guest
Michael Rieveley

Hoping Ffred and Meinir get back safely. They have both done so much to promote the language and ensure its survival through many years including the peaceful protests for which they had to pay a price including loss of liberty. The nation owes them a debt of gratitude.
We should do what we can to encourage the government to get them home.

Lynne
Guest
Lynne

I’m Welsh and listening to these foolish comments is like water off a ducks back.Us Welsh have broad shoulders we’ve heard it all before. If we were all black I’m sure they’d keep their ignorant gobs shut in fear of sounding racist.

Penderyn
Guest
Penderyn

The old “I’m of welsh stock” excuse… classic ??

Linda Jardine
Guest
Linda Jardine

Just thoughtless really, if it was an African or Asian name he wouldn’t have mocked it. Given the circumstances it’s unfortunate. He would have been baffled by English as it used to be spoken, I was listening to someone reading an ancient poem recently and it sounded more like Welsh than English to be honest…and very pleasant.

Rob
Guest
Rob

Dan may well have welsh (hate this word) mam but he’s 100 percent Anglo saxon.

Dafyd
Guest
Dafyd

Well his attitude seems to be at least

H.King
Guest
H.King

Ma nhw wedi cyrraedd adre. Enw canola Dan yw Meirion.