So we were talking about the Proms in the pub

So we were talking about the Proms in the pub


norman lebrecht

August 09, 2022

Comedian and conductor Rainer Hirsch is running a podcast series called Proms in the Pub.

He came round last week for a chat. We discussed whether the Proms still needs the BBC, or could be better run by other players.

Think about it. The Proms stood alone until 1927. They could benefit from a period without BBC executives, wokery and Buggins-turn artists.

We kick around a few ideas and crack some rude jokes about BBC jacuzzis and Yes Minister controllers.

Listen here.

Have fun. We did.

The producer is jolly-good Yada Yada Audio.


  • Gerry McDonald says:

    Rainer Hirsch is triffic! Beware the man from Edinburgh!

  • Miko says:

    I’m proud of my ‘wokery’.
    By any human measure it’s far better than being a bigoted old reactionary.

    However poorly run the BBC might be right now it’s an institution that belongs to the nation, not to the Tory sycophant executives that pass through. Don’t cheer it’s proposed demise too hastily:
    Murdoch and Dacre are slithering through the undergrowth to fill it’s calcified skeleton and poison the last vestiges of British cultural worth.

    • James Murphy says:

      Absolutely- if you remove the BBC from the Proms ( no doubt on a Nadine Dorries wishlist), then watch the quality of the programming plummet…

  • torches and pitchforks says:

    Once they eliminate the wokery, they’ll have Boris Johnson lead us all in a stirring rendition of Onward Christian Soldiers.

  • SVM says:

    It would be great if the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts could go independent once more. Since the departure of Roger Wright, the Proms have become a shadow of their former self (the Proms under Wright were not perfect, but they were a *lot* better than the present day). As I see it, there are two key issues that would need to be considered:

    1. there is no escaping the fact that the Proms run at an enormous financial loss (when Wright used to be in charge, I think I recall his saying at a pre-concert talk that annual festival would cost about £9M, whilst income was only about half of that), so it would be necessary to find adequate sponsorship/patronage/philanthrophy to balance the books (there may be a lot of untapped potential here, since I imagine that the BBC would not have sought external funding for the Proms in general) and/or find ways to cut costs significantly (a cheaper hall, maybe?);

    2. some kind of amicable ‘divorce’ settlement will need to be reached in order to ensure comprehensive preservation, accessibility, and discoverability of the archives (much as I despise the BBC, I think the searchable online database, with alphabetical composer and performer indexes, of historic Proms concerts including much of the pre-BBC era on the BBC website is a valuable and very user-friendly resource) and usability of the historic recordings (whilst many, but certainly not all, BBC recordings are preserved in other institutions, such as the BL, I imagine that the BBC would still hold some of the copyrights in many of the recordings).

    • 18mebrumaire says:

      Why do you despise the BBC? What would you put in its place? Answers on the back of an open cheque, please.

  • Duncan says:

    All humour aside, be careful what you wish for. I believe that Gubbay has expressed an interest in the Proms and there are no doubt others. The BBC wokery may be annoying at times but I cannot see that much could really better the standards that have existed for the last few decades. Of course there are concert programmes with which we disagree – how could it realistically be otherwise? Gems such as Barenboim and Argerich leaving the stage hand in hand after some sublime Schubert will stay in the memory long after the disagreeable elements have faded into obscurity. And there are many such gems at the Proms.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    Rainer is a highly intelligent and very funny man. We should hear more of him outside of his act.