Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

How the BBC Made a Right Royal Mess of a National Celebration; Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

How the BBC Made a Right Royal Mess of a National Celebration; Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: Keith Hann

I REMEMBER when the BBC could move me to tears with its coverage of great national events. Yet so far this Jubilee it has provoked only derisive laughter and occasional spluttering rage.

I was born a year and a day after the Coronation, so the first state occasion that really gripped me was the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965. The impeccably researched and perfectly delivered commentary by Richard Dimbleby sticks in my mind to this day.

For me, the most poignant moment was when all the cranes in the Pool of London dipped in salute as the barge carrying the great man's coffin passed by.

That very barge reappeared in the spotlight on Sunday, as one of the thousand or so vessels taking part in the Thames pageant. I could imagine no happier way to spend my birthday afternoon than watching coverage of this once in several lifetimes event, but reckoned without the utter uselessness As the afternoon noted many to which our national broadcaster has been reduced.

shared my BBC's unremitting Never in the field of outside broadcasting can so many inanities and inaccuracies have been spouted by so many to so little purpose.

One should have known how it would develop when they referred to the Queen, early on, as "HRH" rather than "Her Majesty". The principal commentator, who sounded like Alan Partridge on an off day, burbled on with a constant stream of cringe-making clichs, interspersed with such insights as that a view embraced "so many iconic landmarks that litter London". I am not making that up.

An "expert" informed us that the Duchess of Cambridge's headgear came from Lock's, who also made "the hat that Nelson wore at the battle of Waterloo". As he might have done, had he been a soldier rather than a sailor, and not died at Trafalgar 10 years earlier.

The depth of research into matters maritime was further underlined by the introduction of HMS Belfast as a "90,000 ton" cruiser, an overestimate of approximately 800%. …

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