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06th Jun 2022

BBC issues correction after using Irish tricolour during jubilee concert

Dave Hanratty

It didn’t go down well, as you might expect.

Queen Elizabeth II, who is very much alive, enjoyed an ostentatious and quite surreal – what was the story with the hologram? – celebration to mark her platinum jubilee over the past few days.

A distinctly British ceremony raised many eyebrows across social media throughout, from the minor to the mid-level (seriously, people waved solemnly at a hologram) to the notably major.

During the live broadcast concert of ‘Platinum Party at the Palace’ on Saturday night, an image of the Irish tricolour flag was displayed during Doc Brown’s performance, seemingly representing Northern Ireland.

Naturally enough, viewers were moved to point out the error via both social media consternation and official complaints. The BBC would later issue an apology for the gaffe, noting that the segment in question would be edited by the time it reached the BBC iPlayer.

And so it has proved. Anyone looking to access the footage via the iPlayer is now met with a disclaimer, which reads:

“This programme is subject to a correction. During Doc Brown’s performance, the Republic of Ireland flag was inadvertently used instead of the Northern Ireland flag.”

General televised coverage of the jubilee bash had previously attracted backlash following the repeated use of the term ‘Micks’ to describe an Irish regiment.

The interaction occurred during the Trooping the Colour ceremony on Thursday (2 June) to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the British throne, with the celebrations being led by the Irish Guards.

The Irish Guards is one of the Foot Guards regiments of the British Army and recruits from the island of Ireland, as well as the United Kingdom and beyond. The regiment is often referred to as ‘The Fighting Micks’.

During the ceremony, former Irish Guards officer Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton described the scenes on the BBC as a “great mick cocktail”.

“The Micks have this fantastic mix of guards, discipline and pursuit of excellence with that Irish irrational tenth, if I can quote Lawrence of Arabia,” he added.

BBC presenter Huw Edwards noted: “I should as well explain, you said a few minutes ago, Jamie, that the Irish Guards were affectionately known as ‘The Micks’.

“Some people watching might think: ‘Well, that’s not an altogether nice term’ but it’s worth underlining that it’s what you Irish Guards call yourselves.”

Lowther-Pinkerton then said: “It’s what we call ourselves and actually it’s been our nickname for so long that any connotations that may or may not have been have worn off.”

The British Army’s website states that the Irish Guards are known “affectionately throughout the army as ‘The Micks’”; indeed, the moniker was referenced recently when it was revealed that a number of members of the regiment were arrested for alleged dealing of cocaine and involvement in a loan sharking operation.

However, the throwaway use of the term and the exchange over who seemingly can or can not take offence to its use prompted a backlash on social media.

Joe Dwyer, a London-based activist for Sinn Féin, shared a clip of the interaction and wrote:

“The year is 2022… and a BBC presenter and someone from the British Army are explaining why “micks” actually isn’t an offensive term for Irish people.”