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Have I Got News For You slammed for ‘weak and tedious’ Wyddfa ‘jokes’ about the Welsh language

01 May 2021 3 minutes Read
Left, Have I Got News For You guest host Alexander Armstrong. Right, a climber on the mountain.

Friday night’s episode of Have I Got News For You has been slammed online after cracking ‘jokes’ claiming that the Welsh language was unpronounceable.

Viewers described the attempted gags about the campaign to use only the Welsh language name Yr Wyddfa instead of Snowdon “weak and tedious,” “lazy” and “offensive”.

During last night’s episode, guest host Alexander Armstrong asked: “What else might be changing its name shortly?”

“Oh! Mount Snowdon,” team captain Paul Merton said.

“Yes. It’s going to be called zuuru-buh,” journalist Kirsty Wark said, making exaggerated grunting noises.

“A motion has been brought forward by a councillor that it should only ever be referred to by its Welsh name,” Alexander Armstrong said, pointing to the name on screen and not attempting to pronounce it.

“I was born in Wales,” the other team captain Ian Hislop said. “I didn’t spend very long there. Yr Wyddfa.”

“Disgusting these white lefties mean we can’t dead name a mountain now,” comedian Joe Lycett said. “Sorry, I’m trying to add a bit of BBC…”

“Racism,” said Paul Merton.

Alexander Armstrong later said: “Wales’ highest mountain Snowdon may soon only be called by its Welsh name. I believe the correct pronunciation of the mountain – I’m going to have a go at it, good luck… Snowdon.

“This is part of a trend to reclaim traditional Welsh names that have been Anglicised. For instance, Councillor John Pughe Roberts said that Hellfire Pass should be more accurately knows as Bull-head Groes [Bwlch y Groes]. Or even more accurately, the A363.”

‘Tropes’

The segment was criticised online with viewers describing it as “deeply disrespectful” and “offensive”.

Cardiff Council Leader Huw Thomas said: “Pretty pitiful from Kirsty Wark cracking a joke at ‘unpronounceable’ Welsh names. Not exactly cutting edge comedy is it? So why not show Welsh the same respect you would any other language?

“Poorly judged by Have I Got News For You scriptwriters, and I suspect Merton and Hislop thought so too.”

Duncan Brodie said: “I usually like Have I Got News For You but why the production team continue to believe that ridiculing the Welsh language puts them at the cutting edge of satire remains a mystery. It’s weak and tedious.”

Prof. Amanda Rogers said: “I have a sense of humour but tonight’s episode of Have I Got News For You was deeply disrespectful and offensive to Welsh people.

“Welsh legally should be treated as equal to English especially by BBC broadcasting in Wales. Armstrong and Wark appalling. At least try to say Yr Wyddfa. It’s lazy to mock a nation.”

Dr. Dave Jones, the clinical director for intensive care at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil, said: “Have I Got News For You doing a whole ‘comedy’ routine around ‘don’t the Welsh talk funny?’ using typical predictable, tedious and fairly unfunny tropes. Great work lads.”

Reporter Anthony Lewis said: “I hear a joke was made about the Welsh language on Have I Got News For You… ironically about something that is piss easy to pronounce.”

T. L. Gjersten said: “It’s a shame, I used to really like Alexander Armstrong. Thought he would have been better than that.”

 

 

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Lyn Thomas
Lyn Thomas
2 months ago

Kudos to Ian Hislop for pronouncing it correctly.

Glenda Davies
Glenda Davies
2 months ago
Reply to  Lyn Thomas

Sorry but he didn’t really 😡😡

Conan McDonnell
Conan McDonnell
2 months ago
Reply to  Glenda Davies

He tried, at least. As they say in Ireland, ‘Is fearr liom Gaeilge briste na Bearla cliste.

Morwen
Morwen
2 months ago

What’s new? The Welsh language has been ridiculed by some English people for years….. more so now that we have social media. I used to think that Alexander Armstrong was decent, not any more. Why on earth should we put up with it?

Eirwyn Williams
Eirwyn Williams
2 months ago
Reply to  Morwen

He goes out of his way to pronounce French or Spanish Italian and other Foreign language on Pointless, not hard to say, even a six year old child can say it.

Rhian Francis
Rhian Francis
2 months ago

Steve Backshall would put these people to shame. An Englishman who has learnt Welsh fluently to show respect to Wales and its people when he visits. That Iaith ar Daith episode should be shown on the BBC to enlighten ignorance to a native language to give it the respect it deserves.

hdavies15
hdavies15
2 months ago

Yet if you or I decided to call out Krusty Wark for being an bit of an old hag-gis, or denigrate Lycett for his orientation there would be wholesale condemnation from various smug Beeb types. And that’s before Armstrong’s elephantine ears even enter the round of “jokes”. Must be nice to be a privileged BritNat luvvie taking the p**s out of assorted minorities.

Anna Macconnell
Anna Macconnell
2 months ago

It was all pretty unfunny with determined scoffing at another nation’s culture with that arrogant imperialist sneer that is at the heart of the BBC nowadays. I got the feeling they were trying to be provocative in order to get rating up. Can’t suffer Kirsty Wark at the best of times, Joe Lycett was floundering at anything trying to be funny and failing, and Alexander Armstrong is just another smug, over-privileged prat. Worst HIGNFY ever. Well done Ian Hislop and Paul Merton for their efforts at balance.

Jan miller
Jan miller
2 months ago

Nothing surprising about Kirsty Warks Remarks – we suffered the same situation in Scotland with the renameing or rather anglicising of our beautiful Gaelic names to suit sooth moothers or english landowners .we also get ridiculed on a fairly regular basis some of it is indeed very funny billy Connelly being best of all in my opinion- it’s somehow easirer if it’s one o yer ain billy is and is Very funny .This is however a form of abuse in some people’s eyes and at the moment anger is the prominent reaction to anything that smacks o abuse .I didn’t… Read more »

Kevin Glennie
Kevin Glennie
2 months ago

The BBC have really stooped so low, this light entertainment fired on all cylinders in an attempt to deride the Welsh language and the people of Cymru. Westminster  “Cymrophobia” in action on its flagship lectern of propaganda wrapped in its true colours of the butcher’s apron the BBC!

Gill Jones
Gill Jones
2 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Glennie

Agree with bells on. Well, HIGNFY have certainly helped Wesh Independence vote!

AnthonyA Coslett
AnthonyA Coslett
2 months ago

I really enjoy HIGNFY but this time disappointment was the most tempered of my reactions to Armstrong and Wark whose attempts at humour, based on their inability to speak the Welsh tongue, failed miserably. Inevitably they found themselves and each other hilarious but happily neither Paul Merton nor Ian Hislop joined in this festival of abuse which so debased an otherwise intellectually above average BBC quiz based production. The scriptwriters and producers must accept some responsibility here for it is they who create the weekly diet of news around which each individual programme circulates. I hope this is not a… Read more »

Michael Rieveley
Michael Rieveley
2 months ago

You have to feel sorry for the likes of Kirsty Wark, Alexander Armstrong and all who feel a need to make fun of a language on the basis that they don’t understand it. Their actions were akin to those who shout louder in their own language when in other countries with a different language. It is an unfortunate response that merely emphasizes the ignorance and boorishness of those who do so. You might expect better of these presumably well educated TV presenters. Whether you should feel angry, sorry or just laugh out loud at the moronic stupidity displayed by these… Read more »

bethdimoyn
bethdimoyn
2 months ago

Cambridge graduate Xander has close links with Wales and the Welsh Language. So if he didn’t know how to pronounce Wyddfa, he could have easily checked. Disappointing, It hurts. Not easy to ignore.

Mike Lawrence
Mike Lawrence
2 months ago

This casual racism towards the Welsh has gone on for too long. We are a minority in Britain yet don’t get any of the protection that other minorities do. I agree that the messed up translation of Welsh placenames is beyond a joke. Living in pembrokeshire it’s really bad, such as Trefdraeth being translated to Newport, Whatever is wrong with Beachtown?

Col W.
Col W.
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Lawrence

What’s wrong with just Trefdraeth? 🙂

I would argue that we get the same protections and more than other minorities in the UK but the English/UK nationalists show their true colours when they joke about the Cymry. It’s the tip of an iceberg.

Mike Lawrence
Mike Lawrence
2 months ago
Reply to  Col W.

True. I suppose we should really stop calling ourselves welsh, Cymraeg would be more apt since welsh indicates we are foreigners in our own land. Bloody Sais lol.

Mike Lawrence
Mike Lawrence
2 months ago
Reply to  Col W.

Col.W -“I would argue that we get the same protections and more than other minorities in the UK”.

When living in England as a child I was referred to as “A Stupid Welsh b*****d” by my sports teacher, when I complained to the principal he told me to shut up about it. No protection.

Anthony
Anthony
2 months ago

It’s funny because the English are making fun of their native ancestral language, they should hold it with much more reverence. Tolkien did, and it inspired him to write LOTR and Hobbit.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
2 months ago

Flippant dismissal, facetious mockery, and a refusal to take anything Welsh seriously seem to be so deeply embedded in the collective English consciousness that I nowadays ascribe heroic status to those few who do respect us and show an interest in Welsh culture, and for me they will always be welcome in Wales. Alexander Armstrong and Kirsty Wark are not among their number, nor are the producers of this lamentable episode of an otherwise reasonably enjoyable series. In contrast, Hislop and Merton, who realised the plain wrongness of the approach taken by the other three, are welcome to visit any… Read more »

james winter
james winter
2 months ago

Lol. you all need to lighten up, welsh and english been taking pi** out of each other for a very long time and it’s healthy. Holy cows are so boring. Thank God for our cultural diversity and (mostly) tolerance.

Bincs
Bincs
2 months ago
Reply to  james winter

Tell me where on the national media that welsh people take the pi** out of English people, their language and culture.? A few years ago an advert advertising the 6 nations rugby completion was pulled off air for making fun of the English!

Lorraine Lloyd
Lorraine Lloyd
2 months ago
Reply to  james winter

Banter is fine when both sides are equal, but that’s not the case here. We are a small country being pushed around by the one who colonised it and took most of its resources….I usually find the banter witty, but that was so lame. The ‘joke’ was predictable and tedious. Satire involves a bit more imagination!

Cymru
Cymru
2 months ago

Not surprising from a TV programme that has a history of patriarchal misogyny, old school comedy, tired, unimaginative and lacking in cerebral stimulation. A shame because in it’s early days, it was quite entertaining.

Nick Thomas
Nick Thomas
2 months ago
Reply to  Cymru

I use to love HlGNFY but the arrogant, ignorance about the Welsh language shown on Friday night means I won’t be watching this smug English crap again

Mark Heneghan
Mark Heneghan
2 months ago

Bet they’re kicking themselves that HIGNFY wasn’t around when Rhodesia became Zimbabwe. Imagine the fun they could have had laughing at the natives and their funny, unpronounceable names.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
2 months ago

They’ll be laughing on the other side of their faces when we gain independence and our country becomes more equal and richer than they are. It’ll be – Good luck with the Tory corruption, greed and sleeze England!

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