After a week-long campaign from anti-Margaret Thatcher supporters looking to drive “Ding-Dong The Witch Is Dead” to the top of the U.K. charts, the song landed at No. 2. But the song’s high charting has caused a moral dilemma for the BBC.
According to the Official Chart’s Company, the 1939 recording was downloaded 52,605 times, selling just 5,000 downloads less than U.K. DJ Duke Dumont’s “Need U (100%),” which landed at No. 1.
Though “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead” only landed at No. 2, it is the first song under a minute long (it clocks in at 51-seconds) to ever make the Top 10.
The BBC had questioned whether or not to play the whole song on its chart-countdown radio show due to the fact that it was being driven up the charts as a mocking memorial to the late British Prime Minister.
On Sunday (April 14), the BBC played the song, but only seven seconds worth of the 51-second long song during a news report on the show. The reporter went on to explain why the song was on the chart, along with a little background on the criticism Thatcher faced throughout her time as Britain’s first and only female Prime Minister.
This is not the first time the BBC has chosen to censor a particular song. Throughout the ’60s, they banned “Day In The Life” by The Beatles for a reference to marijuana, and in 1977 banned the Sex Pistols‘ “God Save The Queen” for being of “gross bad taste.”
Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, who is overseeing Lady Thatcher’s funeral arrangements, commented on the viral campaign to get “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead” to the top of the charts, saying it was “extremely trivial.”
“I just think that doing it in the wake of an old lady’s death doesn’t reflect terribly well on us,” Maude told the BBC.
Supporters of the late Margaret Thatcher were also able to make their mark on the charts using Facebook. The 1979 song, “I’m In Love With Margaret Thatcher” by The Notsensibles, which was released the year she first became Prime Minister, sold 8,768 downloads to debut at No. 35 on the U.K. charts.