News, Culture & Society

BBC writes Tinder date poo story in Pidgin

What’s the one thing better than a story about a woman who had to retrieve her excrement after throwing it out of a window during a date? A version of the story complete with the word ‘poo-poo’ in the headline.

The BBC’s Pidgin language website, which has launched two weeks ago, has published a version of the story for its Central and West African readers.

The language is used in Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. 

The nightmare Tinder date story, where a girl attempted to dispose of her excrement after being invited back to student Liam Smyth’s house, was published on the website yesterday. 

The BBC has translated the Tinder date poo story into African Pidgin for its readers

The unnamed girl had been for a romantic Tinder date at a Nando's in Bristol with Liam Smyth, 24, before she got stuck in the student's bathroom window while trying to retrieve her own poo

Liam Smyth

The unnamed girl had been for a romantic Tinder date at a Nando’s in Bristol with Liam Smyth, 24, before she got stuck in the student’s bathroom window while trying to retrieve her own poo 


Pidgin began when European traders started visiting the West African coastline to barter for slaves in the 15th century.

Similar to Creoles found in the Caribbean, it spread as English became a language of prestige in colonial times.

In a country whose inhabitants speak hundreds of different dialects, it is used as a lingua franca, or bridge language.

It is spoken by more than 75million people across the country. 

Pidgin takes inspiration from Portuguese, the first European language to reach Nigeria’s shores, English, the enduring colonial-era language, as well as Jamaican patois imported by former slaves returning to the continent. 

Widely-used phrases include ‘How you dey?’ (how are you?), ‘I dey fine’ (I’m okay) and ‘wahala’ (problem).

After failing to rid of the faeces, the woman panicked and threw it out the window, leading to her attempting to grab it after it became lodged between two windows.

With the help of Mr Smyth, she tried to climb between the gap to pick it up but got stuck, meaning he had to call the fire service to set her free.

On the BBC’s Pidgin website, the story says: ‘The woman wey dey learn gymnastics, just start to waka with Bristol student, Liam Smith, for di first time, when she take fear troway di poo-poo comot for window. Instead make di thing land for garden, di poo-poo come jam between two windows wey no dey open wide.’

In comparison, the English version says: ‘The amateur gymnast was on a first date with Bristol student Liam Smith when she ‘panicked’ and threw the faeces out of the window. It did not land in the garden, but became wedged between two non-opening windows.’ 

Journalists fluent in Pidgin and English have been hired by the public broadcasting service to write for the website and are based in Lagos, Nigeria.  

It has been partially funded by a £289m investment by the Government to expand the BBC World Service into countries such as North Korea as part of its strategy designed to strengthen the UK’s ‘soft power’.

Smyth shared a photo of the window to show how small the gap where the woman got stuck truly is

Smyth shared a photo of the window to show how small the gap where the woman got stuck truly is

The five-year plan was said to be ‘for a secure and prosperous United Kingdom, with global reach and global influence’.

Speaking about the launch of the website, Bilkisu Labaran, editorial lead of the new BBC service, said: ‘It’s a challenging, exciting experiment. We want to be pioneers in what written Pidgin can be.’ 

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