The BBC is facing a backlash after guests on a long-running show were allegedly asked to remove poppies before going on air. The red paper flower is worn in November to mark Armistice Day, a national remembrance for those killed in conflict since WWI.
Daily Mail sketch writer Quentin Letts claims he was told he should remove his poppy before appearing on the comedy quiz show ‘Have I Got News For You’. Guests were allegedly told they would be banned from appearing on the show if they insisted on keeping the badges.
Letts appeared last Friday, alongside comedians Jo Brand and Paul Merton, and Private Eye magazine editor Ian Hislop.
The claim has provoked outcry. The Royal British Legion said it opposed “those who attempt to coerce or criticize people” for wearing the poppy, and defended the right to choose whether or not to wear it.
Tory MP Alec Shelbrooke said “It is outrageous. What on earth is a publicly-funded body doing dishonouring our war dead?”
This controversy is unfortunately one of the many that has been raised in the run up to the 2017 Remembrance period.
What is Remembrance?
Each year at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, Britain observe a Two Minute Silence. Armistice Day on 11 November marks the end of the First World War and is a day to remember and honour those who have paid the price for British freedom.
The National Service of Remembrance, held at The Cenotaph in Whitehall on Remembrance Sunday, ensures that no-one is forgotten as the nation unites to honour all who have suffered or died in war.
HM The Queen will pay tribute alongside Members of the Cabinet, Opposition Party leaders, former Prime Ministers, the Mayor of London and other ministers. Representatives of the Armed Forces, Fishing Fleets and Merchant Air and Navy will be there, as well as faith communities and High Commissioners of Commonwealth countries.
“Remembrance is part of modern British life, culture and heritage. It becomes a particular feature of the public calendar each year when public, private, formal and informal Remembrance events take place throughout the UK” (Royal British Legion).