Thousands Complain over the BBC's Jubilee Yet Boss Tells Staff: You 'Ve All Done Very Well!
Byline: Katherine Faulkner and Paul Revoir
THE BBC Director General has lavished praise on staff for what he called their 'outstanding' coverage of the Jubilee weekend - despite a storm of protest about the standard of the programmes.
The broadcaster's Jubilee coverage had by last night prompted 2,425 complaints from viewers.
Nearly 2,000 were about the coverage of Sunday's river pageant, which even some BBC figures described as 'lamentable' and 'mind-numbingly tedious.' Yet in an internal email to staff yesterday, Mark Thompson wrote: 'Our output has been impressive not only in its scale, but in its ambition, quality and outstanding journalism.
'By capturing the spectacle of the Thames Pageant and yesterday's ceremonies alongside smaller local celebrations we reflected reaction from up and down the country.' He added - without irony - that the BBC had 'made our own contribution to a special moment in our nation's history'.
The extraordinary comments stunned many BBC journalists who are said to feel 'deeply embarrassed' by the coverage. There was further incredulity when the corporation confirmed that many of the presenters who fronted the Jubilee coverage will be given key roles in the Olympics.
Matt Baker - who viewers described as 'woeful' and 'out of his depth' during the pageant - will be fronting the 'live action' from inside the Olympic Park.
BBC veteran Peter Sissons said the number of complaints was 'very serious' and bosses should have a 'serious rethink' about the presenting line-up ahead of the Olympics.
The former newsreader said: 'The BBC should look long and hard at a lot of the presenters from that Sunday. Some of them were absolutely appalling. You're only as good as your last show - and on that basis a lot of them should be very worried indeed.' Viewers were aghast at the idea that the Jubilee presenters would be featured during the Olympics. One wrote: 'Chris Hollins - God I hope the BBC has more up its sleeve than this for the Olympics.' Another added: 'If we all bribe the BBC with cold, hard cash, will they promise not to employ Fearne Cotton or Matt Baker during the Olympics?' As well as the river pageant, the BBC has received hundreds of complaints about its coverage of the palace pop concert on Monday.
Around 500 were unhappy that the programme credits were played over the spectacular fourminute firework display which closed the event. …