List of songs banned by the BBC  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
British censorship

The BBC is the United Kingdom's public service broadcasting corporation and, as such, it has always felt some obligation to standards of taste and decency, to varying levels, at different times in its history. Its "auntie knows best" attitude earned it the nickname of "Auntie BBC" or "Auntie Beeb".

One consequence of this attitude has been the BBC's decision to ban particular records from being played on air. The justification for such bans has included the use of foul language in lyrics, explicit sexual content, supposed drug references (a particularly controversial issue during the late 1960s), controversial political subject matter, maintaining a strict ban on advertising, as in the case of The Kinks' 1970 hit, "Lola", as well as some much less common and unusual justifications. This policy has been seen as highly controversial and heavily criticised at times, sometimes within the BBC itself.

In some cases a ban has been imposed by an individual DJ who refused to play a particular song, whilst colleagues would continue giving it airplay. That was the case of Radio 1's Mike Read who, in January 1984, refused to play Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "Relax (Don't Do It)" on his mid-morning show, declaring it "overtly obscene".

While the ban on some of these songs has been officially lifted, other songs have never been officially cleared for airing on BBC radio, and their status is uncertain - in some cases, records which have been banned have since been played on BBC radio without any official announcement that the ban has ended (such as the Beatles' 'A Day in the Life'). The BBC has claimed in recent years that they no longer ban any records - however some songs, such as The Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up", are simply not played (or in some cases, not played before 9pm) without any official announcement of a ban.

This category contains information about records which have been banned by the BBC over the years. Some were banned for only a limited time, and have since received BBC airplay - others have never been played to this day and appear to be subject to an indefinite ban.


In some cases, more information about the banned songs can be found in their respective articles.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "List of songs banned by the BBC" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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