Twelfth 2022: ‘Disgraceful’ of BBC to drop live coverage of such a huge event say those at Belfast parade

One major difference at today’s Twelfth parade in Belfast, not withstanding the impact of Covid over the past two years, was the absence of a BBC live broadcast.

By Graeme Cousins
Tuesday, 12th July 2022, 4:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th July 2022, 8:39 pm

That decision by the BBC to axe its live coverage was a talking point at the parade.

Friends William Massey, Aileen Greenhorn and Janice Brown were very disappointed at the snub.

William said: “This is a huge celebration, and peaceful too.

William Massey, Aileen Greenhorn and Janice Brown were very disappointed that the BBC were not broadcasting live at this year's Twelfth

“For the BBC to ignore it is shameful.”

Aileen, who is visiting from Scotland, said: “The Orange Order is based on the Bible, a lot of people don’t know that, they think it’s just bigotry, but it’s not.”

Janice added: “The BBC is meant to be impartial. The decision by the BBC not to cover this year’s Twelfth suggests there is an agenda.”

Ella Jackson, from Brown’s Square in the Shankill area of Belfast, also questioned the BBC’s impartiality.

Denise Gordon, right, says she is not surprised that BBC NI axed its Twelfth coverage. She is seen alongside her mum Amy Gordon, and Maureen Allingham, on the Lisburn Road

She commented: “It’s disgraceful. It’s because it’s the Orange Order, because it’s unionists and loyalists.

“There’s no impartiality, not any more. They’ve got so biased.

“When you see how many people are here. They forget that these people all pay their TV licences.

“I’m finished with the BBC and I know that this decision has put a lot of people off.”

Irene Kilpatrick from Newtownbreda, seen on the Lisburn Road, said the BBC decision was unfair on elderly people in care homes

Stephen McMaster from Pride Of The Shore Flute Band found the decision baffling.

He said: “It’s the biggest celebration of anything in Northern Ireland, just to bin it is a disgrace.

“To just ignore something of this size is hard to comprehend.”

Diane Caddell from west Belfast said: “Shame on the BBC for not showing it. We’ve waited three years for this because of Covid. We’re all back out – it’s back! Yeehaa!”

Ella Jackson says she won't watch the BBC any more

Asked her least favourite things about the day, she said: “The bad publicity. And the BBC not televising it. Because there’s wee pensioners in their homes, and they can’t see it.”

Irene Kilpatrick from Newtownbreda said: “I think it was most unfair of them because a lot of people in nursing homes look forward to sitting to watch it and later on at night is much too late for them.”

Denise Gordon said: “I expect nothing better from the BBC. They never give the Protestant culture a chance.”

The BBC announced in June that it would not be broadcasting live from the Belfast Twelfth as it has done in previous years, instead putting together an hour-long highlights package from eight locations.

BBC NI said the decision was taken “after careful consideration and based on editorial considerations”.

They also pointed out that the available live audience for a late evening programme on BBC television is approximately 70-80% larger than a morning time slot.

Adam Smyth, a former Newsround reporter who in January rose to become interim director of the £83m BBC NI operation, said that “accusations of bias are completely unwarranted”.

The Orange Order said the “immensely disappointing and frustrating” decision by BBC NI was reached “without meaningful discussion or consultation.

In a statement the organisation said: “It is hard to accept this as anything other than a further snub to the wider Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist Community and our culture.”