BBC Subtitles

Watching the live coverage of England -v- Greece on the BBC I was disappointed to see the subtitles describing God Save the Queen as the English national anthem.

England, of course, doesn’t have a national anthem. God Save the Queen is the British national anthem and the BBC is well aware of this.

I wrote to the BBC last night:


I have been watching the England -v- Greece match and when the national anthems were played I noticed that the subtitles announced God Save the Queen as the English national anthem. As you are no doubt aware, GStQ is the British national anthem and not the English national anthem. England has no national anthem. Please ensure that GStQ is correctly identified as the British national anthem as I, and many others, find the continuing (deliberate?) confusion of England and Britain by the BBC offensive.

They wrote back to me today:

Dear Mr Parr

Thank you for your e-mail regarding ‘Match of the Day Live: England v Greece’.

I understand you feel ‘God Save The Queen’ was incorrectly referred to on the subtitles as the ‘English’ rather than the ‘UK’ national anthem during this broadcast.

We appreciate that you feel that this anthem was incorrectly described and as such please be assured that your comments have been fully registered and will be made available to the ‘Match of the Day’ production team, the subtitling department and senior BBC management. Feedback of this nature influences future policy and programming.

Thank you once again for taking the trouble to contact the BBC with your concerns.


Patrick Marr
BBC Information

I replied:


It’s not a matter of opinion as you seem to infer – God Save the Queen is the national anthem of the United Kingdom, not of England. There is no English national anthem – in fact, there is technically no British national anthem as there has never been a royal proclamation or act of parliament designating it as such but that’s irrelevant. Can you confirm that the British national anthem will not be referred to as the English national anthem in future? If Scotland was playing, nationalist nutters would have burned down Broadcasting House in protest.


Random Quote

The reason the National Anthem doesn’t work is because it’s simply forelock- tugging set to music. It makes us look like a nation of gormless serfs who think the sun shines out of the Queen’s tiara.

— Tony Parsons, The Mirror

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