BBC mocked by Andrew Neil over North Korea NHS birthday tribute

Cambridge Children’s Hospital Choir sing happy birthday to the NHS

The BBC has been mocked by Andrew Neil over its birthday tribute to the NHS.

Last night’s Newsnight featured a children’s choir singing “Happy Birthday” to the health service ahead of its 75th anniversary next week.

But ex-BBC journalist Mr Neil, who is widely regarded as Britain’s toughest political interrogator, compared the scenes to North Korea.

He also questioned how bosses at the corporation thought the display on the flagship BBC Two programme was a good idea.

The veteran broadcaster said: “BBC Newsnight goes full-on Pyongyang with NHS. Who at Broadcasting House really thought this a good idea?”

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In a further mocking tweet, Mr Neil added: “Our Great Leader Kim Jong-un thanks the choir for their justified praises and commands the NHS to deliver another glorious 75 years of a first-in-class health service that is the envy of the world and which everybody is trying to copy.”

The tribute also caused a stir among other Twitter users.

Commentator Paul Embery said: “You can be a supporter of the principle of universal healthcare while still being slightly uneasy at this North Korea-style veneration of a state-run entity.”

GB News presenter Tom Harwood added: “No other country with a universal system of healthcare (almost every developed country on earth) does this.”

The Defund The BBC campaign group posted: “Meanwhile in the People’s Republic of the BBC… #DefundTheBBC.”

At the start of Tuesday’s Newsnight, presenter Kirsty Wark said the show would celebrate the NHS and “discuss how we can bring the national health service back to full health”.

Introducing the song at the end, she said: “We are here to mark the birthday of the NHS, which turns 75 next week. We are finishing with a treat for all of us.”

She said the Cambridge Children’s Hospital Choir, made up of local schools, would perform a rendition of “Happy Birthday”.

The BBC has been contacted for comment.

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