The BBC’s Holiday 2005 series returned for its annual jaunt on our screens last night

– complete with the usual BBC celebs partaking of their own paid jaunts, at licence payers expense, natch (but “it’s such hard work”, as they never fail to point out when interviewed!).

Yesterday’s programme featured the various attractions of holidaying in Muscat, the capital of Oman – enticing and fascinating it was indeed – “fabled home of Sinbad the sailor and the Queen of Sheba, and a place where bottled water costs more than petrol”. Apart from the fact that the UK, in common with Oman (and many other lands), is also “a place where bottled water costs more than petrol”, the BBC omitted to mention that, whilst safer than the likes of Iraq or neighbouring Saudi Arabia, Oman is nonetheless a country where the UK Foreign Office advises caution on the part of British and western visitors, including:

  • “There is a high threat from terrorism against western, including British, interests. Attacks could be indiscriminate and against civilian targets, as they have been elsewhere in the region”;

  • “You should review your security arrangements carefully. You should remain vigilant, particularly in public places”;

  • “Small-scale demonstrations took place in April 2003, but were carefully controlled by the authorities, and there was no damage to people or property. You should take sensible precautions for your personal safety and avoid public gatherings and demonstrations”;

  • “In public, general modesty of behaviour and dress is expected. Women who wear shorts or tight-fitting clothes, in particular in downtown areas, are likely to attract unwelcome attention. There have been some reported cases of sexual harassment”;

This last one in particular wasn’t much heeded by the programme’s winsome presenter. Come on BBC, it wouldn’t have taken much to suggest that your customers at least check out the FCO’s advice before visiting a potentially volatile area would it? Even the BBC web page about the Oman jaunt, whilst helpfully asking “If you liked Oman, why not try Dubai?”, omits to mention the FCO or even provide a link to their Oman page!

Whilst we’re on the subject of the Holiday programme, the show also featured northern Cyprus – which, we are informed, “has been a divided island since 1974”. Time is spared for a ‘two-way’ with a ‘political analyst’ who informs us about the ‘green line’ and ‘UN troops’ and how “the military presence is more of a relic and has no real effect on its growing tourism”.

That’s as may be, and northern Cyprus does appear enchanting, but, amidst all this ‘political analysis’, would it have taken much to mention what the historical event that divided the island in 1974 actually was? Or would that be outwith the BBC’s mission to entertain, educate and inform?

And hey, let’s be careful out there folks!

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9 Responses to The BBC’s Holiday 2005 series returned for its annual jaunt on our screens last night

  1. jason says:

    i’m sure in thirty years they’ll still be referring to the illegal us invasion of Iraq.


  2. Sigivald says:

    Bottled water costs more than gasoline… in Britain?

    The nation with, if I recall, the highest fuel taxes and prices in the world, or darned close?

    The mind fair boggles.


  3. Martin says:

    Ah you see the BBC lot are all anti car Ken Livingstone types anyway. None of them would know how much petrol cost. Just like most of them wouldn’t know what a real job is.


  4. David says:

    Cyprus and Iraq are hardly analogous. Iraq was a hard core fascist state and its leader killed millions. It represented a profound military threat in the neighborhood.

    cyprus was a tiny state that represented no military threat. there were some civil distrubances and Turkey attempted to annex it.

    And US troops won’t be in Iraq for 30 years


  5. Christopher Price says:

    “cyprus was a tiny state that represented no military threat. there were some civil distrubances and Turkey attempted to annex it”

    Er, not quite.

    In 1974 Cyprus a democracy led by Archbishop Makarios. The population was 1/3 Turkish 2/3 Greek. The mainland Greek military junta, seeking to restore its reputation, instigated a coup on the island with a view to bringing it under direct rule from Athens. The mainland Turks, seeking to protect the interests of the Turkish Cypriots, engaged in a frantic round of diplomacy urging the major powers to restore the legitimate government. When it failed Turkey sent troops to protect the Turkish enclaves on the island, a couple of weeks later they advanced to create a coherent defensive line. The position has not changed much since then.


  6. Henry says:

    Off topic

    The BBC must be furious. They get all worked up about how awful Boris Johnson is for daring to question whether the reaction to Bigley’s death, Hillsborough etc etc was entirely proportionate. They ask the public for their views. And lo: the public (or about 95% of the respondents on ‘have your say’, including lots of Liverpudlians) say ‘Boris is absolutely right’. Here’s the link: read it, it will make your day (unless you’re a BBC lurker):


  7. Rich says:


    This depends on where on the political spectrum you place the pitiful wailing which Boris’ organ so rightly spoke out against.

    I’d have said that it’s those on the right who are more likely to wail over people they’ve never met, particularly when they can make a political point about it. The most hysterical reaction to Bigley that I’ve seen was on this site with various contributors declaring themselves personally horrified by his untimely death (and igoring the fact that his potential capture formed part of the risk premium which he was presumably chasing in the first place).

    Similarly in the textbook case of the ‘Princess of Hearts’ (and international jet trash) it was the Sun and Mail whipping up the ’emotion’ and the lefty papers taking the p*ss. Therefore the BBC’s choice of Have Your Say missives shows a left wing bias as ever.


  8. Rich says:

    Actually, the above isn’t entirely correct as political correctness derives from lefty cretins wailing about perceived injustices against groups (i.e. ‘ethnic minorities’) who they largely haven’t met, haven’t consulted and probably aren’t members of.

    It’s the disproportionate concern for individuals which is a right wing trait.


  9. James says:

    Hi Rich,
    Although I will concede that the Left has dominated the use of political correctness for the past decade and a half or so, the politicisation and doublespeak of language derived from our own governments during their less salubrious Cold War incarnations, for example:

    Police Action: Invasion by us
    Pacification: Razing of villages
    Collateral damage: Civilian deaths

    Both the left and the right and whatever the government of the day may be have politically correct nomenclature; no one calls a shovel a shovel ;-)!