back to article Dam Busters dog dubbed 'Digger'

Scriptwriter Stephen Fry has announced he's successfully tackled the thorny problem of just what to call Guy Gibson's dog in Peter Jackson's upcoming remake of The Dam Busters. The mutt will be rebranded "Digger", Fry announced to the BBC, because "there is no question in America that you could ever have a dog called the N- …

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  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
    Pirate

    Still better than U571

    otherwise it would have been an American squadron of B17s or the like, and Barnes Wallis would be from MIT.

    Where is a bomb icon when you need it?

    1. Refugee from Windows

      my thought exactly

      you just beat me to the B-17 reference!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Totally

      Dropping the dead Nigger is just the beginning. I can see it being re-cast with Jeff Goldblum cracking the Enigma codes that then allows Reese Witherspoon to design the bomb that Bruce Willis, on fire, manages to heave out of a dying B-52.

      Can't wait.

    3. mike2R
      Flame

      U571

      You know, this U571 hate has always irritated me.

      Its a made up adventure, made by Americans and naturally enough they chose to use Americans as the main characters. The film not only acknowledges the British capture of the early enigma machines in its credits, the DVD has an interview with the RN chap who boarded the first U boat from which an enigma was recovered.

      Nothing hugely dramatic - depth charged to the surface and abandoned by her crew. He didn't know it was abandoned, and by his account was bricking it because he had to climb down a ladder (where he couldn't hold a weapon) and thought he was going to get shot in the process. Didn't happen since it was deserted, and a working enigma was recovered.

      Now that was a brave act, but it is hardly a story you could make a film out of. He certainly didn't feel that U571 was an insult to him so why should anyone else?

      It's actually a really good submarine movie, and this Daily Mail faux patriotic hatred for it is just a bit pathetic in my opinion.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Flame

        Re: U571

        Didn't U571-the-film involve the bizarre casting of Jon Bon Jovi? Or maybe Axl Rose or Bono? It's so easy to get all those overrated "gods of rock" mixed up!

        "Get us to the surface: I can feel an anthem coming on! Wah-ah-wah-ah!"

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Meh.

    No-one should care what the dog is called. I fully expect, however, outpourings of Daily Mail style rants about political correctness. To them, I say "feck orf"

    1. DrXym

      Daily Mail played for the other team

      In the Daily Mail version of the Dambusters, the entire squadron would have been shot down by the glorious armed forces of the Reich, and the dambuster bombs would all be duds due to being manufactured by illegal immigrants.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Trollface

        modded down by Daily Mail readers

        @DrXym: In the Daily Mail version of the Dambusters, the entire squadron would have been shot down ..

        I guess there are at least two Mail readers on this forum ...

    2. Marvin the Martian

      "Sod human rights"

      Sums it all up, really.

  3. Tom_

    I heard a rumour

    That Digger will be played by a mole.

  4. alain williams Silver badge

    Political correctness gone mad

    Maybe they should also use the term the ''king's wife'' in case people assume that the king was married to his gay lover.

    1. NightFox

      The German Opposition

      I do hope they've also removed any racist reference to huns, fritz, jerry, krauts or bosch.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        "Take that, you

        statistically-likely-to-be-German-or-at-least-aiding-them illegitimate child!"

      2. Scorchio!!
        Thumb Up

        Re: The German Opposition

        "I do hope they've also removed any racist reference to huns, fritz, jerry, krauts or bosch."

        I say old boy, don't forget such endearments as Huns or 'sausage munchers'. Personally, and speaking as one of Le Rostbifs, I think us, the eyeties, bubble and squeaks, frawgs and Huns show a pretty good example of racial harmony, what? We kick the fsck out of each other over hundreds of years, call each other names, and still we get together every now and then for a game of rugger or footers, and perhaps even a little game of war for retroactive abortion purposes, and we never hold it against one another. Seems to me that old small fry needs to think again, what, what.

    2. mike2R
      Stop

      PC gone mad gone mad

      I'm of the opinion that the whole "political correctness gone mad" thing has gone a bit mad.

      It seems to get trotted out any time someone suggests that a bit of common curtsey and good manners might not be a bad thing.

  5. graeme leggett Silver badge

    I do hope

    this wasn't the only thing holding up production.

    Can we expect to see the film around May 2013?

    Fortunately have the orginal to hand and now....

    "('Well chaps), my watch says it's time to go"

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    Gottta love the Daily Heil commenters!

    If the Dog had been called "Knob Jockey" would the commenters be so vehement in the need for historical accuracy!

    1. Sir Cosmo Bonsor
      Thumb Up

      Thanks

      You just named my new dog.

    2. Juillen 1
      Thumb Up

      Definitely..

      Can you imagine them not wanting historical accuracy on that one?

  7. RichardB

    Leet speek?

    Surely in those days they wouldn't have used a * in his name?

  8. Gianni Straniero
    Mushroom

    Barking up the wrong tree

    They're remaking a film which celebrates a mission of questionable strategic significance that killed upwards of 1500 civilians, and we're still arguing about the dog's name?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      'War'

      Look it up in a dictionary sometime.

    2. Matthew 3

      RE: Barking up the wrong tree

      Suggesting that the Dambusters raid was of 'questionable significance' is a matter for debate. And both sides suffered civilian casualties.

      If you'd just mentioned arguing about the significance of a dog's name in relation to the actual task undertaken you'd have got my upvote.

    3. DRendar
      FAIL

      It can't possibly have been a significant victory...

      Virtually no Americans were involved, and we all know they won the war for us.

      </satire>

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

        Disturbing

        I find your lack of faith in the glorious US of A disturbing. The US of A is a great nation. Remember that you're talking about the people who not only single-handedly won WW2 all by themselves, but also tamed the fearsome Mt Everest, sent the first living organism in space, then the first man in space, tackled terrorism on the whole planet, and are awesome in every regard.

    4. nematoad

      Operation Chastise

      "They're remaking a film which celebrates a mission of questionable strategic significance..."

      No, although Chastise was of questionable tactical importance the strategic ramifications were huge. For one thing it enabled Churchill, in the USA at the time, to announce in a speech to Congress what the RAF had just achieved. Thus boosting Britain's prestige with the American public. Secondly it boosted British morale at home. The papers were full of what 617 Sqdn had done and in view of the state of the war at that time was a good reason for undertaking the operation. In the larger picture the loss of life is of course, to be regretted. But don't forget,as the saying was " Don't you know, there's a war on?" In war people get killed. One of the most tragic aspects of the deaths caused by the breach was the fact that a large number of those killed were in fact women from a Russian forced labour camp downstream of the Mohne dam.

      On a separate note one of the things that Chastise did demonstrate was the superb skill of the crews of Bomber Command. To navigate, at low level over hostile territory at night: to rendezvous at a given time and place and then to attack at 60 feet, no higher or lower, shows the tremendous skills of the crews available to AM Sir Arthur Harris, AOC Bomber Command. Harris was not convinced that his crews had the ability to attack the precision targets that would shortly be called for under the Pointblank Directive. Chastise and the later operations by 617 Sqdn. as directed by Gp. Capt. Leonard Cheshire proved to him that Bomber Command was capable of such attacks. This enabled the RAF to multiply its effectiveness and thus shortened the war. So, although of limited tactical importance Chastise was a milestone in the strategic bomber offensive, showing the way to future possibilities.

  9. EddieD
    FAIL

    Shame on the reg

    The BBC had no problems writing Nigger, why should you?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-13727908

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Indeed.

      Especially since El Reg appears to have no problem in publishing, the 'most offensive word':

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/02/15/fonda_slip/

      Personally, I believe it's not a word that is offensive, but the intent behind its use. In the case of people being offended by the (historically accurate) naming of a dog 'nigger', the thing I find most objectionable is the people who decide that they are going to be offended by it in the first place. my expletive of choice in this case would come form the film Blade 3, and I would refer to them as a bunch of 'cock-juggling thundercunts'.

      That is all...

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Indeed.

        I think it's the only sane move for the makers to change the name - leaving it as it was would be a huge distraction, overshadowing the rest of it, causing needless controversy and messing with people's suspension of disbelief. It's a sensible decision on artistic grounds.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          @Sarah

          If they wanted to avoid controversy, they'd just write the dog out of the film, it's not like they aren't going to make several 'artistic' rearrangements of the facts anyway, and the fact that they had a dog called Nigger really doesn't form a huge part of the story of the bombing of the dams in the Ruhr valley anyway. By changing the name, I'd say that they were actually courting controversy, not avoiding it. Of course, they are also getting a certain amount of free publicity in the process, which is probably their aim.

          As for suspension of disbelief, that really shouldn't be necessary for people watching a film based on something that actually happened.

          1. frank 3
            Mushroom

            meh, title

            in many ways, of course, the very most offensive thing about the Dambusters is:

            YAY! We killed a shitload of people! Go team!

            I know, we were fighting the dark empire etc. but it's still an unpleasant thing to be involved in: killing people is not really to be celebrated.

            It just feels a bit weird to worry about the name of a dog when we're talking about the coldly calculated design of a machine created by people to kill other people.

            Bit depressing really.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Alert

            Nigger is significant

            The dog is actually a significant part of the film. Gibson's dog killed the morning of the mission and his name was the codeword for the successful breaching of a dam. If it's name was Fido, they reports would be coming back, "Fido! Fido!", but its name was Nigger, and that was the codeword - avery significant historical fact that is very hard to leave out...

        2. Simon Cresswell

          The easy answer...

          ..would be not to remake the film at all - no controversy and it wouldn't be as good as the original anyway...

        3. JimBo59

          sane?

          If you want this story to be artistic, dont choose a historical event.

          I am reasonable, but I think that changing history is a very bad thing.

          What if we decide to make a film where the Germans didn't kill jewish people? Is that OK in artistic grounds?

          Of course not.

          It happened, it is fact.

          Titanic, who remembers the details and the reasons for the films apology? who's seen the film?

          Millions are misdirected in history to tell a better tale.

          If you want it to be artistic, write a story. set it in a different time and good luck.

          PS I dont read the daily mail and have no idea why every appears to be slagging it off.

  10. LPF

    Well I'm West-Indian

    and I know the whole story and what the dog was called! Guess what I not about to go kill a load of white people over someone called his dog 70 years ago!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      But if you did....

      could I have the movie rights.

  11. johnnytruant

    The comedian Richard Herring

    Suggested replacing the black dog with a red one, and calling it "Ginger" instead.

    Which makes a lot more sense than "Digger"

    1. Dough
      Thumb Up

      Ginger

      Great idea. Which reminds me...

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVN_0qvuhhw

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      can't

      Insulting to all those with ginger hair, predominantly with some celtic ancestory, so racialist ....

      Why is it all right to call N. Europeans "white"? I feel really offended.

      1. johnnytruant

        good point

        Make it a belton English Setter then, and call it "Bluey"

        Although that's probably racist against people who are very cold.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      ...and conveniently...

      ...Ginger is an anagram of....?

      1. The Beer Monster
        Thumb Up

        emmm...

        Reg-ing.

        The act of reading or posting on El Reg!

        That's that sorted then.

  12. lIsRT
    Joke

    (mis)quoted from The Office

    Well, it was racist, but that was back before racism was bad, so it was OK.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Gervais again...

      The Enola-what? Sorry?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Honky please

    "In the film, you're constantly hearing 'n-word, n-word, n-word, hurray'"

    Ironically, that sounds like it would be disturbingly plausible as the chorus of a party-oriented hip-hop/RnB chart hit... albeit one that would be censored on daytime radio and you'd have to be black yourself to get away with singing.

    1. Tom 13

      Which of course is completely unlike successful American movies like

      Pulp Fiction.

      Sadly, I do understand his point. But I think I would have renamed the dog Niger. But I don't consider his choice as bad as them changing the movie name for Rowling's first book. I still want to put all the morons who insisted it be "Sorcerer" instead of "Philosopher" up against the wall.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Childcatcher

    Shame

    Yet another "rose tinting" of history. Yeah, it's only a dogs name, but it's the thin end of the wedge.

    20 years from now these films will be banned, because we're discriminating against/victimising/racially abusing the germans. And we won't be able to use lancasters, because they use dirty petrol engines, and that's not environmentally friendly. And a war film??? Wob't someone think of the childern???

    50 years time the dambusters will be a story about a happy camping trip to Germany by smiling, multi-ethnic teenagers (who don't have sex before marriage, naturally), flying over in their solar and fart-powered eco-planes to dance and have social events with the equally multi-ethnic Germans.

    Pah, humbug.

    1. Disco-Legend-Zeke
      Pint

      Teenage Premarital Sex Is...

      ...permitted in movies. But they must be killed horribly by the [monster|fire|meteor|Etc.] within five minutes.

      1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
        Happy

        Not quite...

        ...they THINK they're going to get some. A quick kiss and a fondle, the music changes ( Which is always the biggest clue something nasty will happen. Why aren't the kids listening to the music? ) and the Nasty Thing(tm) either abducts or brutally slaughters almost all present, but one person has to survive to go on and kill the thing in the end, but doesn't quite as the Nasty Thing(tm) always has something left in it as the credits roll....*breathe*

        People wonder why I don't bother watching films anymore, more sense and reality in an episode of Fawlty Towers than some of the latest Hollywood claptrap!

        1. Graham Marsden
          Coat

          @Not Quite

          Ah, I think you're referring to the classic trope of "We have seen your breasts, now you must die!"

          (Sorry, way off topic)

          1. Goat Jam
            Pint

            That reminds me;

            I must watch Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer again soon.

  15. Paddy Fagan
    Pint

    Do they really think this is going to be the biggest inaccuracy by the time it's finished?

    If Merv/Jim think this is going to be the biggest inaccuracy by the time the movie hits the big screen I suggest the bring a beer along to the cinema to cry into.....

    Perhap the best solution is to get a black actor to play Guy, because then it would, of course, be ok for him to have a dog called N*gger...

    Paddy

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      I'd like to complain....

      ...this guy is called Paddy. That is clearly an insult to the Irish, can you change it name to Partick or Steve.

      thanks

      1. Paddy Fagan
        Holmes

        But, but, but - I am called Paddy and I am Irish....

        The post is required, and must contain letters.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I'm Sorry....

          But you can't let the facts get in the way of political correctness

      2. Sir Cosmo Bonsor

        Partick?

        Wouldn't that be politically incorrect on account of being offensive to about 80,000 Scots?

      3. Steve Evans

        Re: I'd like to complain....

        I'm called Steve, and I dislike people not called Steve being known by my given name.

        1. Minophis
          Joke

          I'd also like to complain

          My name is Colin and I feel offended and marginalised that my name won't be used in the film and has not even appeared in this this thread (until now).

          1. The Beer Monster

            Colin

            You'll be in the film, they'll just call you Co-lynne not Coll-lin

      4. Saucerhead Tharpe
        Facepalm

        Do you no mean Patrick?

        Partick is a place in Glasgow

  16. Ross 12
    Meh

    sod human rights

    Interesting that curator of the RAF museum thinks that they should not only 'sod political correctness' (yeah, arguable) but also 'sod human rights'. Hmm. Bit of a dinosaur perhaps?

    It *is* a shame the name needs to be changed, but I think that as a society we're just not grown-up enough to deal with it and for it to be taken entirely in the historical context, and thus be a total non-issue. Instead, as soon as the remake was announced, the first question everyone asked was about the dog's name. Plus, given that America, which is probably going to be the biggest audience for the film, has such a bad and recent history with *that* word, I'd say it's the... least-bad option.

    1. peyton?

      That made me pause too

      "sod human rights"

      Even in the context of this debate, who says something like that?? And then he goes on to say that they have "over 9000" visitors? That's classic 4chan. Is that just a coincidence?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      America as biggest audience?

      Only if the leading actors are American, complete with accents, baddy Germans all speak in proper English and the whole thing is dressed up as an American adventure in which England was, reluctantly, allowed to provide the aerodrome.

      Come on, it's a British-based story, no Yanks involved. They won't watch it. If the actors talk English, the Americans will not even understand it.

      1. Alister

        no Yanks?

        @AC 11:02

        "Come on, it's a British-based story, no Yanks involved."

        There were a number of American aircrew involved in the Dams raid, particularly Joe McCarthy - born and raised in Long Island, New York.

      2. Adam Foxton

        Just wait for the reviews

        if they do it all with English actors (even making the concession of accented English in place of speaking actual German), it'll be described as 'Pretentious' in the Yank press.

        1. peyton?

          to be fair

          regarding yanks not following English English ;)

          In the lovable series "Jeeves and Wooster" - when they are Stateside, there are a LOT of British actors speaking with American accents. These bits are a bit painful to watch, not because they get the accent wrong (they're really not far off from our gold standard: the news anchor), but because they speeeeak sooooo slooooowly. I imagine this was to help the ears of those not quite accustomed to such an accent - I think accommodations are made both ways.

          And anyway - surely no one would dare label a Harry Potter film as "pretentious"!

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. HaplessPoet
      Joke

      3 Reasons it'll be a flop in the States

      1. If they use English actors they won't understand the words.

      2. The 100,000 Orcs battling each other will ruin the film.

      3. The Americans don't watch movies where they don't win.

    4. Ian Stephenson
      Devil

      To quote PJ O'Rourke*...

      "There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please.

      And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences."

      Pity everyone want's the right but not the duty.

      *One of the few septics I can tolerate.

    5. Scorchio!!

      Re: sod human rights

      I think it was probably a reference to the yuman rights of people who kill children in road accidents, whilst having criminal records, people we're unable to deport; a reference to muslim clerics who stir up violent jihad and are wanted for terrorist offences in their home countries, people we cannot deport because they might suffer harm in their home countries.

      That's yuman rights. We had the real thing before the EU legislation, from which we ought to derogate, so that we can rephrase our perspective before taking the legislation on again, meaning we can tell them to piss off when it comes to the sort of silly, dangerous exception that I have mentioned.

  17. lurker

    A lot of fuss about a dog's name

    Let's face it, whichever way they jumped on this issue, they were damned.

    As an earlier poster mentioned, let's just be thankful that this isn't a complete whitewash of history like "U571".

    With Peter Jackson directing, and Steven Fry writing (say what you like about his grasp of science, he's quite a witty writer) it might be worth watching, whatever they call the dog.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You just can't go back

    Damn right, which is why they shoudln't ever bother with a remake.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
      Thumb Up

      Of any film

      really

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Damn right?

      Shouldn;t that be "Dam right", ho ho

  19. Burch
    Pint

    My sister's dog ...

    ...is called Digger. He's a Jack Russell, and enjoys digging. He'll be chuffed when I tell him. Either that or lie on my feet growling to get attention.

    Sorry, utterly irrelevant comment (so it should fit in well)..

  20. HP Cynic

    As long as they can move on

    If they had (correctly) called him Nigger then every future discussion and review of the film would be full apologetic nonsense.

    The dog would have become bigger than the film.

    I just hope the rest of it works out.

    1. Disco-Legend-Zeke
      Pint

      A Case Of...

      ...a Wag dogging the Tale.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Sorry, but I'm with the Daily Wail....

    The dog's name is NIGGER. Wouldn't this be better to use this name, as it shows it used in a GOOD light.

    I know a woman called Gay, but she is hetrosexual, however when she passes away we shall change her name to Fay, just so we don't offend anyone

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Trollface

      Fay?

      Sounds a bit like Fey, a word somethimes used as code instead of Gay ....

  22. Zog The Undeniable

    Why do a remake?

    Can't they just fix the dodgy special effects in the original and leave it at that? 5 minutes into a film, you forget you're watching black-and-white or colour anyway.

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: Why do a remake?

      Actually, last time I saw the original one Sunday afternoon, I noticed Nigger had suddenly become "Boy"... A bit of cut and paste of the audio track by the PC police.

      I can't remember what the code word had changed to, but it obviously ruined the whole relevance.

      1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
        Facepalm

        Pink Floyd's The Wall

        In the film version of The Wall they have clips of the Dambusters in it playing on the TV Pink is watching, the part where NIgger's name is mentioned by the actors in the film, is left in and clearly audible.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Boy?

        "Actually, last time I saw the original one Sunday afternoon, I noticed Nigger had suddenly become "Boy"... "

        I think you'll find that in the original cut Gibson often calls his dog "boy" when speaking directly to him, as many people do with their pets.

        1. Steve Evans

          Re: Boy?

          Indeed, and that's where they got the audio for the cut... But they pasted it into every other occurrence of the dog's name.

          That's ITV on a Sunday afternoon for you.

  23. Gulfie
    IT Angle

    Who's just listened to Kermode and Mayo?

    This is hardly fresh news, it was discussed at some length on Radio 5 Live when Stephen Fry went on to Kermode and Mayo's Film Reviews on June 3rd.

    Somebody just catching up with their podcasts?

  24. asiaseen

    But

    617 Sqn members (and their guests) can still keep up the tradition of pissing on Nigger's grave. Much more convenient than crossing the hangar to the bogs.

  25. bitmap animal
    Thumb Up

    Different soundtracks?

    They already do different languages for different regions so why not have them say Lassie in the American releases if they get so worked up by it and leave the rest of the world as it was.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wondering if

    the word is really offensive in this context to black people or being changed by people who think it is?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Eugh

    I find myself in the Daily Mail camp...disturbing.

    The dog's name was the dog's name, in future films about the Roman empire should we remove all hints of gladiatorial combat because it isn't poltically correct? What about a movie set in Southern Pre-civil war America and remove all teh black slaves from the picture and replace them with well-treated and paid workers of diverse ethnic origin (Including white people to be balanced).

    History is history, it isn't all roses and violets and if you cannot judge it based on the historical context then you are a drooling muppet.

    1. Gavin King

      "...a drooling muppet."

      I fear that comment includes a large portion of the world. Which is a bit sad, really.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What will happen here

    Any time now someone is going to be arrested for shouting racial abuse at a person of African descent, with the N word replaced by the D word. He will be found guilty of being a twat and rightly so. This film will then be remembered for adding racial overtones to the word Digger, rather like many autocensors added certain overtones to a town just north of Lincoln.

  29. Jerry
    Pirate

    Ethic correctness

    As an antipodean I've noticed an awful lot of English 'historical' dramas set in the 1900s, 1800s 1700s etc that have a carefully selected set of South Asian and Carribean characters.

    Now considering that most UK citizens with South Asia and the Carribean origins only arrived since the 50s I have to ask is this PC gone a step too far?

    Your UK history is being rewritten in terms of 21st century demographics. Aren't you in the least bit worried?

    1. Juillen 1
      Big Brother

      Orwell

      Pretty much told us about it.. One day, we're going to have to remind our political classes that 1984 was actually a warning, rather than a "How To" manual.

      1. Burch
        FAIL

        Overreact much?

        Please note that a film company is in no way the government, it is a private concern primarily interested in profit.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not Ethnical correctness, accuracy

      There were a fair number of those strange looking swarthy types knocking around the place, part of the "Empire Dividend".

      THey tended to get absorbed into the main population until such times as there were larger, somewhat distinct populations as in the big fits of immigration from the late 19th Century on, Irish, Italians, Eastern Europeans, West Indian, Asian etc

    3. Alien8n
      Alien

      Letters to Iwo Jima

      I liked the fact that the black actor's union (can't remember the actual name of it) in America tried to call Clint Eastwood racist for not having any black actors in his film. His response? There were no black soldiers in the battle, so there's no black actors in the film. One guy who's more than happy to let historical accuracy stay ahead of political correctness...

  30. disgruntled yank

    But think of the Australians!

    Folks, this not about transferring history to the screen, this is about transferring money to the studios. Any diversion of the cash flow, however minor, to public penance for a dog's name is that much pure loss.

  31. Dabooka
    Flame

    What a crock of shit

    I'm sorry, but this has a great amount of historical significance and should not be replaced because of modern day sensitivities. There are plenty of films which use the word to set the tone of 60's America, and the fact the US are embarresed by their history should not mean that the Nigger word be dropped.

    The US, Peter Jackson et al can go and boil their heads. And that includes Stephen Fry.

    Tossers.

    1. Burch
      Thumb Down

      The historical significance...

      ...of a dog's name.

      I suppose they should have left it, forget that far fewer people would actually get to see the film, perhaps it wouldn't even break even.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Daily Fail

    Surely the mail is still upset about the Damnbusters raids succeeding given Rothmeres' personal freindship with Hitler and Mussolini.

    Or has we forgotten this ....

    "I urge all British young men and women to study closely the progress of the Nazi regime in Germany. They must not be misled by the misrepresentations of its opponents. The most spiteful distracters of the Nazis are to be found in precisely the same sections of the British public and press as are most vehement in their praises of the Soviet regime in Russia. They have started a clamorous campaign of denunciation against what they call "Nazi atrocities" which, as anyone who visits Germany quickly discovers for himself, consists merely of a few isolated acts of violence such as are inevitable among a nation half as big again as ours, but which have been generalized, multiplied and exaggerated to give the impression that Nazi rule is a bloodthirsty tyranny."

  33. Suburban Inmate
    Thumb Down

    I'm with the late George Carlin on this.

    "The context. That makes them good or bad. For instance, you take the word "Nigger." There is absolutely nothing wrong with the word "Nigger" in and of itself. It's the racist asshole who's using it that you ought to be concerned about."

    http://www.iceboxman.com/carlin/pael.php

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Yup,

      Yes, context is everything.

      I say that to everybody who complains when I take my bitch out and shout out 'here C**t'.

  34. Just Thinking

    Kind of difficult

    Difficult to make a coherent film about the second world war if you insist on airbrushing out any hint of racism.

  35. T.a.f.T.
    Thumb Down

    Rap time

    I am sure I have heard rappers use the word Dog and N-word to friends and associates so for an RAF squadron to refer to mans best friend in this way is naturally totally inappropriate.

    I do agree somewhat with the idea that words have the meaning we apply to them and we don't tip toe around any other word to the ludicrous degree so what exactly happened which placed this way above Nazi as in Grammer Nazi? We also do not refer to things as large Asian frying pans.

    1. The Beer Monster

      I am sure I have heard rappers use the word Dog and N-word

      Who was that band again?

      Ah yes, Diggaz with Attitude

  36. Natalie Gritpants

    In the interests of inclusivity

    they should rename the dog "Cunt", then we can all be offended.

    1. peyton?
      Devil

      No no - stick with the color theme

      Find a reddish-coated dog and call it "Ginger".

    2. JimBo59

      all?

      not me mate.

  37. Steve Evans

    I hereby suggest...

    All Brits should look horrified and offended whenever they hear the name "Palin"... We'll see how well they like it back up 'em...

    Oh hang on, we already do.

  38. Random Handle

    @Jerry

    >As an antipodean I've noticed an awful lot of English 'historical' dramas set in the 1900s, 1800s 1700s etc that have a carefully selected set of South Asian and Carribean characters

    ......though still too few to be accurate if there's a naval/maritime bent.

    1. Burch
      Joke

      Well

      He's Australian, what do you expect?

  39. John I'm only dancing

    Rat Monkeys

    Why not change the dog to a Columbian rat monkey, which bites Guy Gibson and he turns into a flesh eating Zombie, just like Peter Jackson's prime opus, Braindead, a much better film than that self-indulgent, drug-induced twaddle from Tolkein.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Tolkien took drugs?

      I'd love to see the scholarly evidence for that, part from alcohol and tobacco

      It would be of great interest.

      Either that or we can point and laught at your out of date prejudice

  40. Nigel Brown
    Joke

    Problem solved...

    ...just call the dog Sambo.

    1. RobbieCrusoe
      Coffee/keyboard

      New keyboard please!

      Haven't had such a good laugh for a while... thank you Sir!

  41. Steve Potter
    FAIL

    PC

    How dare Stephen Fry even contemplate changing the poor dogs name... bloody twat ...he doesnt deserve to be english

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Pint

      Whoa there!

      You're treading thin ice calling us 'english', me laddo! For one, we're English with a capital E and two, the PC mob would prefer to have us believe we're all British, not English! It's OK for the Welsh and Scots to be proud of being such, but the English are a classed as a bunch of racist thugs for so much as picking up a St George's flag!

      *shudder* I seem to have been possessed by the spirit of a middle England Daily Mail reader for a second there!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Small "e"

        No it's english.

        England - english.

  42. NoneSuch Silver badge
    FAIL

    Movies re-writing history?

    Maid Marion wielding a long sword. Guinevere with a long bow. Now a dog called Digger. Political correctness infiltrated movie scripts a long time ago.

    My prediction, when they eventually remake the Great Escape (I hope they don't, but it is inevitable), they will escape through a tunnel called "Dirk".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      re: Movies re-writing history?

      "Maid Marion wielding a long sword. Guinevere with a long bow."

      I think by naming 2 completely fictional 'historical' characters you have unwittingly shown that man has been re-writing history for a long, long time.

      1. JimBo59

        was this intentional, I hope so.

        rewriting history - fictional characters. brilliant, or maybe not.

        all i want to see is someone use a long bow correctly, i.e. not to the chin.

        Guys trained for a lifetime to get the strenght to do this, they were damn near deformed by the time they do do a full draw.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Long Sword

          What's a "long sword" then?

  43. Robert Edge
    Coat

    Digger won't work either...

    It'll deeply offend John Barnes for a start...

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Childcatcher

    rare

    I rarely use my dog's name.

    If I wish to attract his attention I say "here boy". If I mention him to someone else I say "my dog".

    he's never complained, & I imagine N/Digger (if it were alive today) wouldn't complain if it's name wasn't mentioned in the film either.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      you seem to have missed out the important bit

      where the dog's name was used as a code word for breaching the Mohne dam.

      1. doperative
        Thumb Up

        dog's name was used as a code word

        > you seem to have missed out the important where the dog's name was used as a code word for breaching the Mohne dam, AC

        I made the same point and got modded down for it ..

    2. Richard Willetts

      Except the name was significant!

      It was used as the codeword to indicate one of the bombing runs being successful so they shouldn't avoid saying the name of the dog, which means they have to keep it or change it, personally I think it should have been left alone but won't be outraged because of the change!

  45. davefb

    'thin end of the wedge'

    good grief, I really can't believe people are seeing this as some sort of amazing cry for freedom that they can call a dog an extremely offensive name. Is this the kindergarten?

    As for 'british forget those yanks' , I believe what you mean to say is 'commonwealth and allies' ie RAF + canadian and new zealanders+ ?.

    It's one thing to moan about 'americans taking our glory' but to then repeat the error ...

    People were racist in the past, the film is not about casual racism and how bad it was, its about the bombing raid, the dog gets renamed.

    Always remember reading a battered old 617 squadron book about the raid and later tallboy missions, the death rate on that raid is horrific , that's what we should be talking about , the stoic bravery, the political need for a victory... Hell ,even the crossword puzzles.. Not Nigger RIP..

    1. Juillen 1

      You realise

      You're absolutely right about it being about the squadron, not the dog..

      Which is why people are rather irate about so much bowing down to Political correctness over a historical fact.

      The name means the dog was black. As there weren't many black people in England at the time (certainly up north, and in Wales, where my folks were from, they'd not seen a black person until their late teens, which as a while after the war).

      That is the historical fact. They were referring to the fact that the dog was black.

      Sure there was racism around then. All over the world, from all sides. That's also a fact.

      The film isn't about "casual racism", it's about mentioning an anachronistic word for a colour (the same as in a period drama, merry people are still referred to as being "gay"; this doesn't offend any of my homosexual friends, who are quite bright enough to get the context). There is nothing racist about it. Only in the brains of those who are looking for it.

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: You realise

        You can't ignore the clanging impact of the word. It has too much attached to it.

        1. JimBo59

          really?

          do you pay this much attention to every word you use?

          do you say who when it should be whom, or do you misuse medical names for body parts when angry at people?

          I prefer to tell people to get audited, it is an unpleasant but non leathal thing that wastes thier time rather than the more commonly misuse 'swear' words f**k off, which is generally accepted to be pleasant and something we like to do more often.

          if you feel that words have a lot attached to them, maybe its time to get a dictionary and a doctor

      2. Burch

        Yeah, right

        Liverpool and Bristol don't at all have shameful histories which we all share. They knew the meaning of the word.

  46. Morteus
    Big Brother

    It's all so pointless...

    ...because political correctness isn't interested in preserving of portraying the truth.

    Various ruling factions thoughout history have altered names and events in the name of political expedience - or in this case in the case of commercial gain - and not for the first or last time either.

    What concerns me more is that many people are more and more willing to take these cinematic representations on face value as factual. In years to come people will be argueing over which was portraying the truth. It may only be the name of a dog, but what next?

  47. Tony S
    Big Brother

    History ..

    ..is written by the victors (or those with the money to dictate what happened)

    The real problem is that most Americans actually learn their history from Hollywood. They believe what they see on the silver screen. Oliver Stone's film JFK is riddled with inaccuracies, but these are still often quoted (even in college courses), and many Americans believe that it is 100% accurate - "it's in the film, so it must be true".

    This is not a new problem; there was a dreadful Errol Flynn film "Merrills Marauders" that portayed fighting in Asia during WW2. When it was released in the UK, many people walked out in disgust - they knew what had really happened. But as time moves on, there are fewer people that were there, so the studio suits can re-write history as much as they want.

    George Orwell talked about re-writing history.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Truthiness

      "it's in the film, so it must be true".

      It's worse than that. I have often heard the phrase "they wouldn't let them put it in the film if it wasn't true". Quite appart from the fact that I don't know who "they" might be it worries me that if people see the phrase "based on a true story" they assume there is some sort of legal requirement for everything in the film to be true.

      The more modern phrase "fact based drama" was, I'm sure, coined by some lawyer who had worked out that as long as there was a single undisputable fact in the script then the studio would be on solid legal ground should anybody try to sue for libel. Look this here is our fact and the rest of it is fiction.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    Double Edged Word

    Historically it should be in there, the word should be used in the original form in anything even if it is considered to be offensive.

    Remember the NAACP buried that word, then Chris Rock brought it back.

    And yet they still say it's not ok to say that word if you are a European Caucasian and I hear the car stereo blasting down the street *Bass thumping* "Nigger going to make a movie ... Nigger going to make a movie ..." *Bass thumping*

    No I am not using that word, just quoting lyrics ... so I should be able to sing that song anywhere without being called a racist correct?

    Oh look there's Al Sharpton coming to thank...whoops gotta go.

  49. doperative
    Alien

    Code word Snuffleupagus

    Never mind the name of the dog, how are they going to refer to the code words for a successful breach ?

    2:17 "Now get these code words off by heart. Gonner is the code word for an explosion in the right place. Nigger is the code word for a breach in Möhne Dam and Dingy is the code word for a breach in the Eder" ..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgePEO7GUtE

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    Where's Agatha Christie..

    .. and her Ten little Diggers when you need them?

  51. g e

    I heard that

    Barnes Wallace is the be renamed Brian Goldberg in the movie...

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Happy

      RE: I heard that

      Don't be silly! He's going to be played by Laurence Fishburne and be called Professor Zuluchaka, assisted by his beautiful colleague Lucille Whytetrash (Reese Witherspoon, natch), with the main plot line being how she overcomes her upbringing as a racist Southerner to fall in love with Prof Zuluchaka and help him design the bomb that some unmentioned RAF guys go to drop on some dams somewhere in Germany. Not even a need to mention the dog!

  52. James Pickett

    Dirty Digger

    Personally, I am deeply offended by the reference to Rupert Murdoch, especially if it shows him in a favourable light.

  53. Jonathon Desmond
    Happy

    I love the...

    ...irony in the following line from the article:

    "N*gger is the name of the dog and that shouldn't be interfered with"

    ??

    Why didn't Lord Fry choose "Negra" instead.... same meaning, no connotations (I know... it's the feminine form....)

  54. Saganhill

    Dont do it

    Im from the USA and I would see this rewriting of history as another attempt to be politically correct. A term used by Stalin by the way. They are already rewriting Mark Twain here in the states. Its a shame really. No future generation will know the truth after these revisionist get their way. I hope someone keeps the original for future generations.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Bouncing Bombs

    I'd be more interested in hearing Mr Fry's explanation of how bouncing bombs actually worked.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who won again?

    Re: who helped who, and who helped themselves in WWII

    I drive a german car

    I ride a Japanese motorbike

    All my computers/kit is american/Japanese/chinese

    I think just in the last few years we paid off the WWII debt to America

    UK has been taxing to death everyone just to keeps it's head above

    So forgive me for being fuzzy on the whole who helped who

    Ah well

  57. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Who will play the Germans?

    Since the bad guy in all hollywood movies has to be played by a Brit actor isn't it going to be a bit confusing to have cut-glass accents on both sides?

    - unless of course all the RAF roles are played by Americans

  58. Saucerhead Tharpe

    Merrill's Marauder's was Jeff CHandler

    It was Objective Burma that has Tasmanian Errol Flynn in it.

    It was banned from the UK until 52 for being American in a Commonwealth conflict, but the story is really a "Roger's Rangers" story from the French and Indian War, transposed to Burma

    1. Tony S

      ooops

      Sorry, you're correct, it was "Operation Burma" not "Merrill's Maruaders. Mea Culpa, no doughnuts for me this afternoon.

      But it wasn't a Commonwealth conflict, as it was during WW2. (The Commonwealth didn't really exist as such until after the war - although the Empire had previously been referred to as a "Commonwealth of Nations" back in the 19th century)

      The story line was inspired mostly by "Operation Loincloth", military action by British & Empire troops (including Indian and Gurkha, as well as ANZACs).

      I'd not previously heard of "Rogers Rangers" - colonial troops attached to the British army during the pre-revolution days. It looks like quite an interesting story.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Daily Mail?

    I find it very odd that just because I think that we should stick with historical accuracy, I'm adjudged to be a Daily Mail reader, even though I'm a leftie Guardianista!

    Perhaps Jackson can shoot dual scenes for those involving the dog's name, so that we can choose which version to watch for ourselves, instead of having somebody get all offended on our behalf?

    1. defiler

      DVD release?

      There's going to be more shots of dogs in the "deleted scenes" than in all of Crufts...

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Missing the point!

    I think you’re all missing the point here. Imagine a family of diggers moved into your street. You wouldn’t be happy about it, would you? And where there’s one family of diggers, there’s usually more diggers. Before you know it, the whole area is overrun with diggers, your house it worth nothing and your car has been stolen.

  61. Peter Clarke 1
    Alert

    Missing the Point

    If Nigger is not going to retain his name then I hope Mr Fry will also rub out cigarette smoking from history. Won't someone think of the children?

    PS I believe the 'strategic value' of the raid was showing we could strike at Nazi Germany despite Europe having been occupied for the previous 3 years.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    Is it because they is not black?

    Peter Jackson just needs to cast black actors for Guy Gibson and all the other characters who need to use the N-word (either as the dog's name or as a code word).

    Problem solved!

  63. Graham Jordan

    gonna be shit anyway

    King Kong will defend the dam whilst orks chuck spears at the mighty stealth bomber only detected on gps when the dumb but lovable kid from south Carolina accidentally releases celebratary fireworks prematurely.

    Peter Jackson offends me more than anyone else bar Michael Bay. Sigh

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Mushroom

      At least Michael Bay is honest.

      Not pretentious, not particularly worried about making a film that breaks new grounds or anything like that.

      Just blow. Stuff. UP. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

  64. Apocalypse Later

    You might as well fall flat on your face as bend too far over backwards

    The last time I saw the original black and white film on the telly, they had dubbed over the n-word. I don't know if it was cluelessness or a deliberate swipe at the PC lot, but the substituted word was "boy". Just try calling a black man that in the USA.

  65. Cameron Colley

    Late response:

    They should call the dog Nizzle, as is "Ferchizzle ma nizzle".

  66. Rick Brasche

    as long as

    they show the development of the bomb as a tiring process of experiment, observation, and testing...of trial and error in the yard and in the test tanks, done by an older, slightly weird dude with a sense of pride of his nation...and not some young prettyboy who imagines it all flawlessly all at once or was "inspired" by too much recreational chemical intake.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    what other words will we change in history to appease the revisionists?

    so if the term "Mickey Mouse" is decided to be "racist" or the term "overlord" becomes an "offensive" one, will we also redo all of our D Day films as well?

    they shoulda changed the dog's name to "White Trash", so then it'd be "good" racism.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    I have a better idea

    name the dog Ninja.

    "Ninja, Puh-LEEZE!"

  69. Alan 43

    the dog and codeword were nigger

    The dogs name was nigger, the operations codeword was nigger named after the dog -surely they could have come up with something better than digger as a replacement - i`m sure there are plenty of other words for black in other languages that could have been substituted since that was the point - the dog was black .

  70. Jolyon Smith
    FAIL

    Coming Next: WWII without anti-semitism

    Because you can't have Jews being rounded up and shipped off to death camps in this day and age. Historical accuracy go screw yourself.

    And it's "just the name of a dog - what's the big deal?",... OK so let's change the Lancaster bombers to B52's, let's change Barnes' name to something more American friendly like Hank, and while we're at it, let's have Glen Miller's St Louis Blues swinging over the end credits instead of that British Imperialistic Dambusters March...

    FFS

  71. Stevie

    Bah!

    It's not the dog's name I object to, it's having all-Hobbit flight crews and making Barnes Wallis an Elf.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nagger

    Is this movie EVER going to get made? It feels like I've been waiting for over 3 years now . . .

  73. Scorchio!!

    Cold

    Just pretend they have a cold when they say 'digger'.

  74. Harvey Trowell
    Gimp

    This Fry chap is clearly having a giraffe.

    Or at least, when tasked with selecting a name without any possible racial associations, he could perhaps have done better than Digger, as in spade, had he wanted to. No accident there, I think.

  75. Minophis
    Facepalm

    Reminds of the South Park episode 'Free Hat'

    Coming this summer the re-re-re-release of Saving Private Ryan*

    *All the guns have been digitally replaced with walkie talkies and the term 'Nazi' has been changed to 'Persons of political differences'.

  76. saucy
    Holmes

    Why Change The Name?

    I used to work in a factory and all the coloured gentlemen called each other nigger. Yes. I wrote the "n" word. They were not offended nor were they offended when "the whites" called them nigger too.

    It`s all the hype that is associated with this word as those who the word refer to take it all in their stride. I think most of them are more embarrassed about the hype and the the politically correct lot that air their views.

  77. bugalugs

    RIP nigger (bowled by EML 534 (= 6))

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgePEO7GUtE ( @ 2.13 )

    he was just looking for his boss. good boy !

  78. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Following a sponsorship deal with BMW

    In the remake a gang of plucky Germans will develop a bouncing bomb for use against Ladybower.

    Pity it wasn't as feeble as American dams. I visited the Hoover dam and had my tiny Swiss Army keyring knife taken off me - apparently the dam is a terrorist target and a 1inch nail file could destroy it.

  79. Dropper

    Really?

    People actually care what's in a movie that much? Since when did we become Americans? Do we now use films as our official source for history like most of the US? Because as far as I was aware there are something called books that can be used in a pinch when Wikipedia is down. Not sure why we should expect them to commit financial suicide for the sake of one name. I expect that it's stuff like this that explains why the US is better at making money from films than we are. They understand that people you're trying to sell to generally object to being insulted, and then told that they're not being insulted, it's just they're too stupid to understand. Normally I'd find insulting people and then ask them to thank me for being historically accurate funny, but when it comes to a sales tactic, it's pretty shit.

    Besides you can't go around decrying political correctness in one breath and then act like a little girl over a name in the next. You might as well just start wearing a skirt and ordering half a shandy.

  80. Hedgehog

    Dog

    Surely with Peter Jackson's involvement, the serious question should be whether the dog will be played by Andy Serkis?

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Americans

    Why are so many posters working from the assumption that this is an American film? As in those comments about history being rewritten to show that the US was responsible for the raid. Lets see; the screen play is being written by a Brit; the executive producer is a Brit; and the director is a New Zealander. So where's the American influence?

    I'm more worried about Fry shoe horning the story to fit the characters being a bunch of poncy self obsessed luvvies who are more interested in their relationships and inadequacies than they are with the mission. That's the sort of stuff he normally seems to write.

  82. skellious
    Mushroom

    " over 9,000 visitors a year"

    It's over 9,000!!!

    But, to get on topic, SF is only taking the decision that makes business sense. If the name was not changed, so many groups in America would protest the film for no other reason, and many cinemas would not show it. Regardless of anything else, they've got to think of the wallet.

  83. Morteus
    Happy

    By Jove, I got it!

    Instead of removing the allegedly offensive name, why not just redress the balance by calling the rest of the cast 'Honky'!

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who pays the piper, calls the tune - again

    Stephen Fry should heed his own words "you just can't go back, which is unfortunate" - and refrain from b*****ing around with History.

    The poor animal will probably end up being played by a chipmunk - all cute and apple pie.

    Hollywood has so corrupted it's output that half the world would misbelieve any actual historical fact presented to it.

    .

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