Morons on TV: the BBC and the Jubilee
Besides the nasty weather we've had during and since the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, a storm is brewing about the BBC's coverage of the events, from the flotilla of 1,000 boats to the big lunch and pop concert at Buckingham Palace, to the last day's service at St Paul's, the carriage procession and balcony appearance after them.
At the time of writing, it has been announced that the Beeb has received 4,000 complaints. I imagine all of them were justified, as I'd guess every single one of them complained about the caliber of the presenters, who were the ultimate dumb-downers.
Obviously the BBC made a policy decision to use these silly people, some of whom couldn't get the queen's title right (saying "Her Royal Highness" when the entire point is that she is the sole person entitled to be called "Her Majesty") and unable to tell the bow of a boat from its stern. There was near-universal ignorance about the small craft in the flotilla - and I speak as one who shares the ignorance of those who commented on them, and was therefore in need of enlightenment.
There is a tradition here that royal events are anchored by members of another hereditary clan, (my friends, to declare an interest) the Dimbleby family. The originator of the claim to commenting on matters of the throne was Richard Dimbleby (1913-1965), who was more or less present at the birth of TV. He won his spurs (and his reputation for gravitas) by broadcasting the first reports in 1945 from Belsen concentration camp, and went on to present the TV coverage of the 1953 coronation (which I saw as a schoolboy in America), as well as the state funerals of George VI, Churchill and JFK. His mantle was inherited by two of his four children, David (who is a bit older than I, so technically of retiring age) and Jonathan (who is younger than I, but still past 65).
Both David and Jonathan have the ability to be inquisitive but gracious, and serious without being grave or boring. The have never, ever failed to do their homework, as the intellectual pygmies who presented the Jubilee so egregiously did.
There have been calls in the British press, radio and TV to "bring back the Dimblebys," and I am in complete agreement. Though I was very careful to avoid London during the Jubilee weekend and the Monday and Tuesday holidays that followed, I was eager to see it on TV. There hasn't been a Diamond Jubilee, after all, since Queen Victoria's in 1897, so even if you're a republican, it's a once in a lifetime thing. It was spoiled, ruined, trashed by the nobodies in front of the BBC's cameras. Shame on everyone concerned. I hope it was not the decision of the soon-retiring Director General, Mark Thompson, for I think he's done a grand job, and count him a friend, too; I certainly shouldn't like his place in history to suffer the black mark of responsibility for this fiasco.
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