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Last Updated: Friday, 18 March, 2005, 16:58 GMT
BBC defends Churchill sculpture
Song, ( Paul De Monchaux)
The sculpture was inspired by Churchill's wartime speeches
The BBC has defended a sculpture it commissioned to celebrate wartime prime minister Sir Winston Churchill.

Tory MP Nicholas Soames, who is Churchill's grandson, told the Daily Mail the timber tower inspired by his wartime speeches was "BBC silly".

The work, by Paul de Monchaux, cost 50,000 and was funded by the proceeds of telephone votes for the BBC Great Britons poll, which Churchill won.

The BBC said the Churchill family had not complained to it about the work.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "The BBC has not received any criticism from the public or the Churchill family about the memorial.

"Lady Soames met the sculptor before work began on the piece, and she and other members of the Churchill family attended the unveiling in Westminster Hall and were very complimentary about the work.

"The sculpture represents Churchill's strength, his integrity and his focus on co-operation, and is an evocative contemporary memorial."

But Mr Soames, the shadow defence secretary and Conservative MP for mid Sussex, told the newspaper: "My family thinks it is absurd. It is not serious, not sensible, not dignified, just BBC silly."

Mr Soames was not available for comment when contacted by the BBC News website.

Speech drafts

Churchill - Britain's leader in World War II - won the BBC Two series to find Britain's greatest figure in 2002.

De Monchaux's freestanding timber tower, entitled Song, is made from 20 interlocking units of sawn green English oak heartwood.

It features facsimiles of Churchill's typewritten speech drafts embedded in the piece.

The sculpture is being displayed in Westminster Hall, Houses of Parliament, which was the site of Churchill's ceremonial lying-in-state in 1965.

It will be in the hall until 25 March before touring venues around the UK.

Song will eventually be installed in one of the BBC's London premises.

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