[Brian’s reply to letter from Akira N about the this subject being treated as a joke by the TV programme, QI. See LETTERS]
I was not aware of this. I have now watched the episode on YouTube. I have to say it makes me feel very upset and angry. If I had seen it at the time it was transmitted, I would have been horrified, and would probably have rung up the BBC to complain. I’m sure the people involved did not mean to offend, but there is no question that this flippant treatment of a subject which constitutes one of the most awful human tragedies in history was a serious error of judgement. I am shocked that nobody taking part at the time realised the complete inappropriateness of going for laughs on a subject like this. I have spent time at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, one of the most moving experiences of my life. To me those hideous bombs represent something so appallingly ugly in the history of my country’s behaviour that I feel palpable shame, even though I was not born at the time. I know all the arguments which attempt to justify this slaughter of women and children, in a population already reduced to a fraction of its former size by allied fire-bombing. But I will never believe that the end of the war could not have been brought about in a better way. This awful wholesale extinguishing of human life must never be repeated.
I hope the BBC will make a full apology for this trivialisation of an obviously sensitive subject. As Queen, of course, we treasure our links with Japan … it will forever be a very special relationship for us. My heart is with them, and my sympathies with those who still live with the repercussions of that awful time.