Last night, the highly-esteemed Sohemian Society held a celebration of British radio comedy, featuring producers John Lloyd (The News Quiz, Spitting Image, Have I Got News For You, Q.I.), Edward Taylor (Does The Team Think, The Navy Lark, The Men From The Ministry) and Richard Edis (Brain of Britain, My Music).
They had many interesting anecdotes about the production of comedy programmes, which I won’t steal from them, but one presumably widely-known story which I myself had never heard was told by performer Jon Glover about John Reith, the dour, Scottish, first Director General of the BBC.
Jon Glover told the assembled throng:
“Lord Reith wasn’t that keen on comedy, but there was a sort of anarchy going on in the building of Broadcasting House in that, if you look at the facade of old Broadcasting House you’ll see some Eric Gill sculptures on the front.
“Eric Gill not only slept with his children but sculpted directly onto the Portland stone outside Broadcasting House in mid-winter, wearing a smock and no knickers and BBC secretaries were commanded not to look up as they went into the building.
“And he did a very famous statue of Prospero and Ariel and he gave Ariel an extremely large ‘protuberance’ and Lord Reith is reported to have one night tried to climb the scaffolding and chip away at it.”
I find the story almost impossible to believe – the vision of John Reith climbing up his own scaffolding to chip away at a work of art he presumably commissioned. But it is a good story – and bizarrely satisfyingly neat in the idea (given recent stories) that a paedophile carved above the main entrance to the BBC’s headquarters a man holding the naked figure of a child.
10 responses to “The paedophile sculptor and the image on the front of BBC Broadcasting House”
The statue should be take down a d blown up know wonder people like me dont watch BBC
Its disgusting no wonder Savilles abuse was covered up
The enabler of nefarious services to the establishment, Saville was a prime example of this.
I’m surprised the Lefty mob haven’t demanded its removal but I suppose it would like attacking one of their own (the BBC)
When has the left ever condemned pedophilia? They are too buy condemning normal healthy relationships. Love is love, age is a number, children can choose their gender, and so on. When Bernie Sanders said children should be sexualized, no one batted an eye. When there were protests against child trafficking, the left counter protested.
I don’t think any statue should be taken down but should instead bear a blue plaque of ‘Truth’ about the murky history of the creator and creation.
Where would the plaque be I wonder? On the wall at a level at eye level with an arrow pointing to the statue? Or as in this case placed directly beneath in letters large enough to be read from below.
I’m not generally in favour of removing statues but there need to be exceptions and i think this is one of them.
Personally I would NOT watch the BBC even if they paid me for it . Al Capone would be proud of the way they are using extortion to procure money from the population .
I see no difference between the illiterate thug wielding the hammer & scrawling “Peado” yesterday, & the Taliban blowing up the Buddha statues, or Da’esh smashing the lamassu in the Mosul Museum.
Destroying irreplaceable works of beauty is a crime. It’s nothing to do with how we feel about paedophilia – Gill should have been prosecuted, no question. But his statue didn’t do anything wrong. Prospero & Ariel are symbolic images, invoking & commemorating Shakespeare at the heart of the English language. What we are witnessing is a civilisation dismantling itself. To replace it with what?
I’m afraid – pace the wreckage of irreplaceable antiquity and heritage at the hand of fanatical followers of a certain faith – that Eric Gill has besmirched any innocent symbolism in this statue. I am not a censorious person, but that such an obscene and filthy mind worked on any child-figure for general display is an insurmountable barrier to any public appreciation. Knowing his horrifying proclivities, I can now no longer bear to look at it, since I can feel his unclean gaze besmirching my attention as I look, and making me feel dirty by connection. In any decent society, the creepy presence of this monster should no more be foisted upon the public. Museum conservation out of the public gaze is it’s proper fate, I fear. Let the BBC use the opportunity to commission a new symbolic icon from one of our leading contemporary sculptors!