Big Ben is Losing its Bong

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From this coming Monday, Big Ben’s bongs will fall silent and we won’t hear their like again until 2021, save for a couple of special occasions. This will allow for crucial repairs to be made to the clock and the surrounding Elizabeth Tower. However, if you find yourself pining for a peal, there is at least one place where you will still be able to hear the great bell and its four quarter bells, and that’s on Radio 4.
Traditionally, the network plays the chimes live before the Six O’ Clock and Midnight News. To fill the forthcoming void in airtime, a nationwide search for an alternative was launched, but it turned up nothing suitable. Is there really no other public clock in the UK that could be tapped into? This would be a great opportunity for a bit of regional broadcasting: “Tonight, the bells from Manchester”… and so on).
In any case, the BBC has come up with a solution. The venerable broadcaster will be playing recordings of previous chimes, a collection of Big Ben’s classic hits so to speak. Yet another example of repeats filling up the schedules.

Read more in this week’s print edition or go to e-paper

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