BBC Countryfile blasted as 'insulting and patronising' after adding subtitles to Irishman's interview
Several politicians were 'shocked' by the use of subtitles in an interview with a Northern Irish blacksmith and demanded an apology.
16:47 19 November 2014
The BBC has been criticised for using “patronizing” subtitles to an interview with a Northern Irish blacksmith and well-known local figure, Barley Devlin.
The 94-year-old County Londonderry was the inspiration behind Seamus Heaney’s famous poem 'The Forge' and was being interviewed for the BBC's Countryfile programme, but the final broadcast version had forced subtitles on screen despite him speaking in English.
Politician Ian Milne, of Mid Ulster Sinn Fein MLA, was “shocked” by the use of subtitles and demanded an apology.
“Following the death of Heaney last year, Devlin was interviewed by media organisations from across the world, including the BBC, and they did not see the need for subtitles,” he told the Mid Ulster Mail.
“This has caused anger in the local community who are insulted by this unnecessary move. It is yet another example of the BBC’s lack of respect for Irish people and culture.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Countryfile has insisted that “no offence was intended” in the use of subtitles.
“We wanted as wide an audience as possible to appreciate Barney Devlin’s evocative memories of blacksmithing and of Seamus Heaney,” a statement read. “We discussed with Mr Devlin using subtitles and he was happy for this to happen.”