Controversy erupted last month over the BBC claiming lyrics to British anthems would be removed from the ‘colonial links’ event. But the broadcaster reversed the decision following outrage over the ban. On the last night of the Proms, a small orchestra performed traditional hymns in an empty Royal Albert Hall due to coronavirus restrictions.
Part of the outrage was directed at Rule Britannia’s controversial words, which read: “The British will never, ever, ever be slaves. ”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson weighed in on the ban and asked the broadcaster to play the hymns in full.
He added, “It is time we put an end to our shame about our history.”
READ MORE: Rule Britannia Words: What Are Rule Britannia’s Words?
The full, uncensored versions of the hymns were greeted with joy by viewers.
One Twitter user said, “Beautiful, meaningful and patriotic.
“Who could want more of their national anthem?”
Another added: “The British national anthem was sublime, beautifully performed.”
Richard Holden, MP for North West Durham, spoke online and said: “See! Wasn’t that hard BBC!
More Twitter users praised the event, with some describing the event as “unique, touching, respectful, appropriate and memorable”.
Another user added: “It was one of the most moving and memorable concerts I have attended, and the only one where I have seen a cameraman moved to tears. “
In a call for unity after the ban, one user said: “We all have our own tastes and opinions, but there is no doubt about the quality, skill and professional dedication to the whole show.
However, not all viewers were satisfied with the renditions of the national anthems.
One user said the event was a “wonderful music party” until it was “sullied, altogether, by” crass and ridiculous “Rude Britannia” and GSTQ “.
They added: “As always, a fight to avoid vomiting. “
Another said, “Omg! They couldn’t have made it more pathetic if they had even tried.
One user challenged the reduced capacity due to the coronavirus restrictions and said, “Some kind of audience and more singers could have helped.”
The BBC defended the reduced capacity and said: “While it cannot be a full-fledged choir and we cannot have an audience in the hall, we are doing everything we can to make it special and want a truly memorable Last Night.
“We hope everyone enjoys this solution.”
The broadcaster added that they hope “the night itself will be a very special time for the country” after the pandemic.