In 1932, the British Broadcasting Corporation, pride of the British people, commissioned the architect Lieutenant Colonel G. Val Myer, to design a building as their corporate headquarters which would embody the spirit of the organisation as they pushed their version of British values across the airwaves to a world still coloured pink on the map of ‘the Empire’.
The building was designed to look like a great ocean liner sailing across the airwaves. Today it is strangely reminiscent of the ill fated Titanic.
In the ‘bow’ of the building, Lord Reith commissioned a sculptor to carve out of stone the figures of Prospero and Ariel from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. So far so good.
Sadly, the sculptor he chose was none other than Eric Gill, a man who confessed in his own diaries to being a prolific paedophile; who had an incestuous relationship with his sister, his dog and his own young daughters…
Lord Reith could not have known this at the time – but he was alarmed when he saw the statue. Indeed, the BBC press office were kind enough to tell me that the matter of the size of Ariel’s penis caused such concern that not only were ‘young maidens said to blush’ on passing the statue, but the sitting MP for St Pancras at that time, tabled a question in parliament claiming that the statue was ‘objectionable to public morals and decency’. They are unfortunately not able to confirm that Lord Reith ordered Gill to take a chisel to his masterpiece and ‘circumcise’ it…a rumour that has been oft repeated.
Prospero, for those who have never read The Tempest, was the man who famously put to sea in the ‘rotten carcass’ of a boat. T’was only the applause of ‘an audience’ which could free him.
So there we have it, for students of hindsight. Lord Reith managed to chose a paedophile sculptor to embody the image of the BBC as a floundering creature in a rotten carcass searching for the applause of the audience whilst clasping a child with oversized genitals.
You couldn’t make it up.
Can I respectfully suggest to Lord MacAlpine, that he takes the £185,000 of tax payers money he has been awarded by the BBC for not actually being named in a broadcast by an outside unit under the auspices of an acting editor, reporting to an acting head of broadcast, under the watchful eye of an acting Director-General, and commission a new statue to represent the BBC.
Perhaps the figure carved in stone of the last remaining acting broadcaster speaking to the nation from the underground bomb-proof shelter they had built back in 1942? I’m told it is still there, probably packed full of acting head’s of something or other.
*Earlier posts on the subject of the BBC, paedophilia, and Jimmy Savile.