Just 24 hours after the corporation’s new Director General, Time Davie, took over from Tony Hall, a drastic change has been announced. In a statement the BBC said the songs would now be sung in the hall.
The taxpayer-funded corporation said they had been looking “hard” at finding a solution following its “artistic decision to rule out singing.
They said the songs would now be sung by a select group of vocalists during the Last Night Of The Proms, the BBC has confirmed.
The broadcaster previously announced the songs would feature as instrumentals, following controversy over their perceived historical links with colonialism and slavery.
A spokeman for the BBC Proms said: “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.
“For that reason we took the artistic decision not to sing Rule, Britannia! and Land Of Hope And Glory in the Hall.
“We have been looking hard at what else might be possible and we have 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.
“We hope everyone will welcome this solution. We think the night itself will be a very special moment for the country – and one that is much needed after a difficult period for everyone.
“It will not be a usual Last Night, but it will be a night not just to look forward to, but to remember.”
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Oliver Dowden reacted to the news tweeting: “Pleased to see common sense has prevailed on the BBC Proms.”
More to follow…