BBC Proms: Rule, Britannia! will be sung on last night, BBC confirms

Could the BBC Proms drop Rule, Britannia?

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PA Media

The BBC has reversed its decision not to have Rule, Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory sung at the Last Night of the Proms.

Media reports had suggested the lyrics were being dropped due to associations with colonialism and slavery.

The BBC said last week the decision to perform orchestral-only versions of the songs was prompted by Covid-19 restrictions.

However, a select group of BBC singers will now perform the songs after all.

“The pandemic means a different Proms this year and one of the consequences, under Covid-19 restrictions, is we are not able to bring together massed voices,” the BBC said in a new statement.

“For that reason we took the artistic decision not to sing Rule, Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory in the Hall.”

But, the statement added, the BBC had been “looking hard at what else might be possible” and had found “a solution”.

“Both pieces will now include a select group of BBC Singers. This means the words will be sung in the Hall, and as we have always made clear, audiences will be free to sing along at home.

“While it can’t be a full choir, and we are unable to have audiences in the Hall, we are doing everything possible to make it special and want a Last Night truly to remember.”

The Last Night of the Proms will take place at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 12 September.

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