“We understand that some people may feel this amounts to censorship,” said Ben Cooper, controller of Radio 1. “But I’m caught between a rock and a hard place. Not reporting it would risk giving her supporters the oxygen of further publicity. What we’re doing is a compromise – we’ll play a few seconds, and then we’ll bring on a newsreader to explain that some people thought such a lavish funeral was a good idea, even if we at the BBC find it sickening.”
The idea of a ceremonial funeral gained support after Thatcher’s death, following a prolonged campaign by members of the Government. “We understand that members of the public who’ve paid for this funeral with their own money might feel disappointed that they don’t get to hear it in full, but a few seconds is enough to get the point home that she’s dead,” said Cooper.
The BBC also explained that the clip would be played as part of a segment featuring a range of different opinions to maintain ‘editorial balance’, with thousands of manufacturing sector workers expected to be heard laughing joyously as the former Premier’s body combusts.
“Well, she was a divisive figure,” said one member of the public. “No she wasn’t,” said another.