Yr Wyddfa: BBC defends ‘tedious’ Have I Got News For You Welsh language ‘jokes’
The BBC has defended an episode of Have I Got News For You which included ‘jokes’ claiming that the Welsh language was unpronounceable.
In response an avalanche of complains, the corporation has claimed that the attempted gags about the campaign to use only the Welsh language name Yr Wyddfa instead of Snowdon, were not “intended to be taken seriously”.
It suggested that comedy is a “very subjective area” and that it does not “set out to cause offence”.
The show was panned as online, with viewers describing the jibes about the Welsh language as “weak and tedious,” “lazy” and “offensive”.
During the 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.”
A BBC spokesperson told the Metro: “Comedy is of course a very subjective area and it is perhaps inevitable that jokes which are acceptable to some will strike others as distasteful.
“We do not set out to cause offence, but we realise comments made about Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa on last Friday’s programme made some of our audience members unhappy.
“HIGNFY takes a satirical look at the latest news stories, and none of the jokes are intended to be taken seriously.”
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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Strange how these presenters can get their tongue around some pretty difficult names of footballers but choose to ridicule the Welsh language. Sad, to say the least.
The issue with this sort of comedy is very simple. It’s punching down, that’s why it shouldn’t be done. It’s not people being overly sensitive or don’t get the joke.
The joke is demeaning and punching down on a language that has minority speaking population even though it’s hundreds of years old and has faced persecution throughout history, it’s as simple as that.
Pardon my poor memory but only a few days ago I overheard a Beeb luvvie pronounce a Welsh place name correctly. I passed out with shock, hence my inability to recall who it was !
HIGNFY’s grossly overpaid comedians and scriptwriters are completely oblivious to what goes on outside their self-indulgent mega-rich London bubble; they do not understand the Welsh language and the Welsh nation, and therefore they end up attacking Wales and the oldest and most beautiful of all British tongues. It is lazy, pig-ignorant and tedious to the point of boredom. I am English, yet I can still pronounce the Welsh name of the highest peak of Wales easily. What IS their problem?
BBC removes Little Britain and an episode of Fawlty Towers because they cause offence due to their xenophobia. Tells Welsh people our offence doesn’t matter. Nice one BBC
Have I Got News For You should invite Welsh speaking comedians on their programme – such as Tudur Owen or Elis James. In the Green Room they might have a chance to explain to the HIGNFY team that making fun of minorities not in a position to defend themselves is acceptable.
I think Tudur Owen might reduce them to tears though. Ellis James is a bit establishment now though.
Would the BBC allow this if you had jokes about Swahili instead of Welsh ?
I don’t think so.
Ask the scriptwriters for better comic ideas. Joking about Cymro people is tedious and sophomoric.
Alexander Armstrong behaving like a posh Bernard Manning. #RetroGags
I felt that Alexander Armstrong was taking the p**s out of his fellow Englishmen.
I did not write ‘p**s’.
Have not watched that show for ages complete garbage and as funny as the corona virus