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Monday, June 4, 2012

Diamond Jubilee: criticism grows of BBC's 'lamentable' coverage

 It was the BBC’s reputation as a peerless television broadcaster of royal events. It just could not survive under an onslaught of inanity, idiocy and full cream sycophancy uttered, muttered and buttered on thickly by a team of presenters who were encouraged to think that they were more important than the events unfolding around them.

Someone, somewhere thought that their celebrity personalities were enough to see them through this all-day broadcast. How very wrong they were.

‘I’ve just spotted my 70-year-old dad out there,’ gurgled Sophie Raworth, as barges packed with senior royals and VIPs slid by, unremarked upon. Who was in all the other boats? We never did find out.

Yes, the BBC1 coverage of the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant was historical — historically awful.

Time and time again, their cameras cut away from the magnificent river sights — never seen before, never to be seen again — to watch Tess Daly, with a pineapple fascinator on her head, jiving in a park. Or Anneka Rice wittering on about art.

Despite the poor coverage those who turned out for event enjoyed the day in spite of torrential downpours.

The Queen smiled on through the cold and wet, resisting the joint temptations of an indoor berth and a hot cup of tea to wave non-stop from the windswept deck of the royal barge from start to finish of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

“It was absolutely worth waiting for,” said a shivering Joanne Revitt, 48, who watched the procession from the Embankment near the tower of Big Ben (or the Queen Elizabeth Tower, as MPs want to rename it).

“The Queen looked stunning and I am quite convinced she waved at me as she went past,” she added.

Countless thousands of others no doubt went home with the same belief, and they would have gone home happy as a result.

It was, the Duke of Cambridge told one guest, a “very emotional” day for his grandmother and at times it showed as she seemed slightly overwhelmed by the scale of the public’s response.

The BBC defended its coverage. A spokesman said: "We're very proud of the quality and breadth of the BBC's coverage of this extraordinary event."

But those watching at home were less than complimentary.

One posted: "BBC's coverage of the jubilee is awful! Bad camera angles and bad presenting. Sky much better."

Another said: "Are the BBC trying to be quaint and 'British' with their p*** awful coverage?"

Another damning posting from the politician read: "Which is worse, the heavy rain falling on the flotilla along the Thames or the BBC's dreadful coverage of this Royal Jubilee event?"

Austin Mitchell, Labour MP for Great Grimsby, summed up the coverage in similarly disparaging terms.

"One hated Thames Armada. No Navy left so hordes of tatty boats. Queen freezing, BBC 5Live and TV commentary pathetic. A disgrace," he

An estimated 1.2million people, a bigger turnout than for last year’s royal wedding, lined 14 miles of riverbank, turning it into an unbroken chain of red, white and blue.

For the artists on the Millennium Bridge who had been invited to paint the 21st century’s “Canaletto Moment”, however, the colour palette was overwhelmingly grey.

No one would have blamed the Queen if she had turned out in oilskins, but instead she wowed the crowds in an ivory coloured bouclé dress and coat, braided with silk ribbon and with a silk organza frill, which included a clever nod to her three big jubilees.

Made by the Queen’s dresser Angela Kelly, it was embroidered with gold and silver spots and embellished with crystals to represent diamonds. Was it coincidence that it seemed to borrow from the Ditchley portrait of Elizabeth I wearing a similarly opulent spotted dress?

The day had begun with six million people around the country attending 10,000 street parties from Devon to Dumfriesshire, almost all of which had gone ahead despite the weather. The one notable exception was Downing Street, where David and Samantha Cameron decided to move their party indoors to escape a drenching.

At 2.10pm, as the trifles and chocolate fingers were being polished off around the country (triggering a mass retreat to the comfort of a dry sofa and a television set), the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh made their entrance. Waiting for them at Chelsea Pier were the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, together with an honour guard of 22 Chelsea Pensioners.

Over her wrist, the Queen had brought what at first glance appeared to be a small towel (which would have been sensible enough) but later proved to be a shawl — her only concession to the drizzle — which she reluctantly deployed an hour later when even her stoicism began to be tested.


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