By Charlie Lankston and Charlotte Griffiths
She's a squeaky-clean pop star who sings about young love and yearning.
But when Eliza Doolittle wanted to sing about Jesus she joined the ranks of artists such as the Sex Pistols and Frankie Goes To Hollywood by being censored by the BBC.
Eliza was asked to re-word her gentle love song Walking On Water for an appearance on the Chris Evans Show on Radio 2.
Censored: Eliza Doolittle and Chris Evans were baffled at being ordered to censor the lyric about Jesus
It refers to putting on Air Max trainers to run across the water to a yearned-for love.
The 25-year-old singer-songwriter said: ‘I had to change the lyrics from “Sometimes I wish I was Jesus, I’d get my Air Max on and run across the sea for you” to “Sometimes I wish it was easy to get my Air Max on and run across the sea for you”.
‘It was weird because I’m not being blasphemous, I just meant “I wish I could run across water and see you”, but maybe wishing for the power of God was blasphemous enough for them.’
The decision left Evans mystifed, given some of the songs he is allowed to play on his show.
He said last night: ‘Lyrics and the Beeb have
always bamboozled me. We often play Lou Reed’s Walk On The Wild Side. Check out
the lyrics in that song.’
The singer-songwriter said she is not blasphemous, simply wanted to use the religious reference as a metaphor
The gentle song Walking On Water, in the album In Your Hands, is about love and yearning
The 1972 track touches on transexuality, drug use, and mentions a lewd sex act.
The censorship of Eliza’s song angered former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, who said: ‘I am totally appalled. I’m not surprised the BBC is behind this because their attitude tends to be to dumb down the Christian message.
‘I am sorry the lady agreed to this because the sense of the song is lost. Walking on water and Jesus go together.’
The BBC’s decision is the latest in a series of PC judgments affecting artists and even the Corporation’s own broadcasters.
In 2011 there was uproar over reports that Jeremy Paxman had been asked to use obscure terms like ‘Common Era’ and ‘Before Common Era’, rather than AD and BC, so as not to offend non-Christians.
At the time commentators pointed out that in 2,000 years the use of AD and BC had never caused offence.
Shocked: Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, blasts the move for dumbing down Christianity
Last week the BBC was forced to defend a decision by the makers of the BBC Three show Free Speech to postpone a discussion about being gay and Muslim after concerns were expressed by community leaders at the Birmingham mosque the show was being broadcast from.
The Sex Pistols’ single God Save The Queen was banned completely from airplay in 1977 – the Silver Jubilee year – while gay anthem Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood was banned in 1984.
Eliza added: ‘I think people are a bit touchy,
but it’s not a big deal. I don’t take that stuff seriously.’
A BBC spokesman refused to shed any light on the incident, saying: ‘We never ask any artist to change the lyrics to their songs.
‘It’s the decision of the record company and the artist. We have clear editorial guidelines in place to deal with religious or contentious issues and to avoid causing offence to our audiences regardless of their faith.’