I agree that BASIC is excellent as a quick and easy way of knocking together a program. But it really is powerful as well: there are very few things you can do with something like C in the desktop that you can't do with BASIC.
Also, I don't think it should be underestimated how useful BASIC on RISC OS can be as a language to learn programming. Just installing (e.g.) the Visual Studio .NET SDK is enough to put a novice off programming. BASIC provides instant access, instant feedback and is sufficiently structured that it needn't teach bad programming practice.