Dear Auntie Beeb…..

Dear Auntie Beeb – you don’t know me, I’m only a little boy, but my daddy has told me all about you. He says you’re the only Auntie we’ve got who never makes promises you can’t keep and always speaks the truth. Daddy told me in his important voice “We can always trust Auntie Beeb.”  Well, you sound like a really special Auntie. He says I’ll maybe get to know you better when I’m older.

Daddy has told me a lot about you in the last few weeks. He said he listened to you when he was a little boy, just my age, on the old radio that was in his house. His granny listened to you too on that same old radio. And daddy said my granny and grandad listened to you as well, on the same old radio. You must be really special if all these people listen to you.

Granny MacPherson and the old radio © John MacPherson

Daddy also said you’re not well just now, that there is a little bit of sickness thats troubling you. Is this true? I hope it’s not anything serious?

Daddy said when he went to Africa as a teenager and then to lots of other places by himself that you went with him, and he listened to you at night in the forest and in the desert, on a thing called the World Service, and that your voice was comforting to him. Thank you for being so kind to my daddy.

Is it true that your voice is travelling in space as waves rippling out towards the distant galaxies too?  Right now? Really really really really fast? Daddy says that if there are other people out there on other worlds they’ll hear your voice too.

Thats very exciting for me because I like Star Wars. Have you seen Star Wars Auntie Beeb? Its really good, its all about a group of people that everyone loves and who use a thing called The Force, which is a good thing mostly, but bad people sometimes use it’s dark side to do things that won’t please everyone. Is that like broadcasting? Star Wars is a wee bit confusing to me because it’s hard to tell the goodies from the baddies. And sometimes the goodies get fooled by the baddies into helping them, which is not very clever. Sometimes I think the goodies are just careless. You should watch it sometime, I think you’d enjoy it.

I really wanted to show you the pictures of our old radio. There is a picture of my great granny with it, taken a long long time ago. I’ve got a picture of my daddy with it too but I won’t show you that one because daddy is only two years old in it and he looks very very silly, but here is a picture of me with it too. It’s a new picture! It was taken this week. Daddy says the radio is a wonderful thing and that you started your life talking to people on this very radio. Daddy says that when he was the same age as me he used to sit listening to your voice on it and found out lots of things about the world. I’m not sure how it all works but its sounds like a brilliant toy!

William tunes in © John MacPherson

Anyway, I’m writing this Auntie Beeb because I’m very worried about you. If you’re ill maybe you’ll end up like Norris the hamster at nursery and have to get buried in a box in the garden. That would be a terrible thing to happen……well…… you see I don’t want to lose you because I’m a bit concerned that I, and all my friends in nursery, might not get a chance to find out all the things about the world my dad knows, all the wonderful things you told him.

Dad says that every year we have to give you money, all the people in this country have to, to keep you speaking to us. You must have a lot of money by now, and I just wanted to say that I’d be happy to for you to use OUR money that mummy gives you and spend it on yourself, maybe on something special that will make you feel better. Like a cream bun maybe, I get them as a treat and they make me feel good.

Dad said there are some people helping you overcome this sickness, one is called Mr Humphrys, he speaks on the radio in the morning, I hear him when I have my breakfast. He’s got a nice voice. Is he like a Jedi Master? Yoda is one of them, he’s very old and wrinkly because he’s been around for a long time. Is Mr Humphrys like that too? Or is he a Wookie? If there are dark forces that you have to fight Auntie Beeb I hope Mr Humphrys will help you. But maybe he’s been affected by the dark side as well? It’s really hard to tell sometimes so please be careful, and tell Mr Humphrys to be careful too.

Anyway just so you know, I’m on the good side, and I’d like to help you, but my light sabre is just a plastic one. Daddy doesn’t have a light sabre, he waves a pen around instead. Daddy says light sabres are not as dangerous as pens, he says everyone knows what light sabres do before you use them, but that you only find out what damage pens can do after you use them. I’m too small to know what he means. Maybe if you get well again Auntie Beeb and I can keep listening to you I’ll know more about these things when I get bigger, and understand the world a bit better. I hope so.

I would like to talk more to you but I have to go to bed now, but I’ll be thinking about you.
Please get well soon.

Love William
(age 4 and a half)

  • BBC Entertainment shut down in India on 30th Nov 2012. BBC World News continues though. And though the reasons for the shut down weren’t connected to the current ills the Beeb is having it’s still a sad day.


John MacPherson was born and lives in the Scottish Highlands. He trained as a welder in the Glasgow shipyards, before completing an apprenticeship as a carpenter, and then qualified as a Social Worker in Disability Services. Along the way he has cooked on canal barges, trained as an Alpine Ski Leader & worked as an Instructor for Skiers with disabilities, been a canoe instructor, and tutor of night classes in carpentry, stained glass design and manufacture, and archery. He has travelled extensively on various continents, undertaking solo trips by bicycle, or motorcycle. He has had narrow escapes from an ambush by terrorists, been hit by lightning, caught in an erupting volcano, trapped in a mobile home by a tornado, kidnapped by a dog's hairdresser, rammed by a basking shark and was once bitten by a wild otter. He has combined all this with professional photography, which he has practised for over 35 years. He teaches photography and acts as a photography guide & tutor in the UK and abroad. His biggest challenge is keeping his 27 year old Land Rover 110 on the road. He loves telling and hearing stories.

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