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BBC Diamond Jubilee Coverage Slammed

Posted on the 06 June 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost
BBC Diamond Jubilee coverage slammed

The Spirit of Chartwell at the Thames Pageant photo: tonylanciabeta

The background

The BBC has come under fire for its coverage of the Diamond Jubilee. Viewers took to Twitter to criticize the broadcaster’s choice of presenters and celebrity emphasis during the Thames pageant, with some branding the commentary “inane” and “tedious.” Comedian and presenter Stephen Fry took the Corporation to task on the social networking site, pointing out that a presenter mistakenly referred to the Queen as “HRH” rather than “Her Majesty.”

“We’re very proud of the quality and breadth of the BBC’s coverage of this extraordinary event,” said a BBC spokesman in the immediate aftermath, reported The Independent. But faced with mounting criticism, the Corporation put the topic up for debate on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, with former Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer suggesting the producers had been aiming for a more “informal” feel.

So was the BBC coverage really that bad?

Has the BBC ever presented a more mind-numbingly tedious programme in its history? “HRH the queen” said the first ignorant presenter. HRH?

— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) June 3, 2012

BBC’s ‘shameful’ coverage out of step with national mood

“The trouble is, the bigwigs at the Beeb simply do not get it. They are embarrassed by these great occasions and wish they’d go away so they can get back to throwing money at programmes like The Voice,” wrote Bel Mooney in The Daily Mail. “These highly paid people regard with contempt those men and women — rich and poor, young and old, British and foreign — who are thrilled by the longevity of Elizabeth II’s reign.” Mooney was particularly disappointed that the BBC chose to use presenters such as Fearne Cotton and Tess Daly over historians like David Starkey and Bettany Hughes.

BBC coverage insulted viewer intelligence

The BBC treated the flotilla “merely as background for the witterings of the BBC’s most lightweight presenters and the D-list celebrities they had lined up to lurk anywhere but on the river,” said Stephen Pollard in The Telegraph. Pollard was astounded that the broadcaster cut away from the moment the Queen’s barge passed through Tower Bridge to “an interview by Fearne Cotton so cringe-makingly inept that it should be shown to all wannabe presenters as an example of how good looks are not enough.”

The problem was the event, not the BBC coverage

The BBC coverage has been slammed for “lacking gravitas”; but, said Michael Volpe at The Huffington Post UK, “I couldn’t see anything about the pageant that deserved ‘gravitas’. It was a decent idea taken to ludicrous levels, aimed to create an image for the media; a gazillion boats on the river.” Ultimately, the BBC was just giving the public what they want, argued Volpe: “The nation these days appears incapable of enjoying (or enduring) anything that isn’t presented by ex-Blue Peter hosts, tits and tan regional accents and the latest ‘hot’ presenter. It is no good whining about it just because the Monarch was involved.”

Watch the best bits of the Thames Pageant below.


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