NEIL Mackay believes that it is too late to change the BBC and that it is on the way out ("The end is nigh for the BBC – and that is all its own fault", The Herald, September 1). There has, of course, been much other severe criticism of that institution in recent years, including by the journalist Rod Liddle, a former employee. He once observed that "the corporation has become a vast echo chamber of polite middle-class opinion, utterly bereft of political diversity". I believe that when one looks at the words in the BBC’S mission statement from the days of Lord Reith, former Director-General that it seeks to inform, educate and entertain, it is not difficult to conclude that the attempts at the third element overtook the first and second a long time ago.

Talking of Lord Reith, how the BBC has changed since his halcyon days. For example, people once swore by the accuracy and truth of reports if they had heard them on the wireless, radio announcers once wore dinner jackets, and men could not become announcers if they were divorced. One wonders what His Lordship would have made of the turmoil and changes today.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


I AM indebted to Catriona Stewart for bringing to my attention such gems as "Zoom face", "underbum", "ab crack" and "Toblerone tunnel" ("Women, please stop the ‘Zoom face’ nonsense", The Herald, September 1). Quick research led to an interesting half-hour.

I was already familiar with bingo wings, spare tires, man boobs, love handles, builder’s bum, and brewer’s droop, but clearly, one is never too old to learn, although not personally involved with any of them.

R Russell Smith, Kilbirnie.


READING of Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s demand in 2018 that health trusts stop using the "archaic device"of the fax machine ("Issue of the day", The Herald, August 29) reminded me of an episode during the miners’ strikes of the early 1970s.

I was in Woolworth’s in Union Street, Aberdeen on a gloomy afternoon when, as we’d been told to expect, the lights went out. A few seconds later the lighting came on again, from ceiling-mounted gas lights ignited by remote control that had been left in place when electric lighting had been installed in the 1920s.

Thus Woolworth’s remained in business while others gave up or carried on as best they could with candles.

A few weeks later I was in the same store when the lights went out. This time they stayed out. Why? Because head office, having been alerted by newspaper coverage of Woolworth’s apparent sagacity, had ordered the immediate removal of this embarrassingly anachronistic feature; the branch would have to get with it and learn to use candles in the up-to-date fashion.

Robin Dow, Rothesay.