I’m really loathe to admit this because it makes me feel that I might be turning into Mrs Colonel Blimp, but I agree almost entirely with something written in the Daily Mail.
Yesterday afternoon we settled down for a patriotic afternoon’s viewing of the Jubilee Pageant. I feel sometimes that I must be getting very old because I have this automatic assumption that the BBC always “does” occasions very well. I was also inculcated with that Victorian belief that everything in Nature has its place and is there for a purpose; realising that there is no apparent purpose for horseflies and mosquitos makes me feel just a bit uneasy, likewise the dawning realisation that the Beeb wasn’t “doing” the Pageant at all well, in fact at times you wondered if they could have done it worse.
This was an event, that nevermind the weather, was always going to be spectacular and done very well indeed, and yes it was. It was a marvellous spectacle that ran like clockwork with some wonderful things in it and if I prefered some parts to others, the rowing boats were great, the commercial passenger boats less so, it was still superb. The presenters were not.
They weren’t just dumbed down and patronising (Tess Daly mixing with the locals in Battersea Park) they were downright ignorant too. In The Apprentice (another programme I’m just a wee bit embarrassed about admitting watching) Lord S quite rightly points the finger and fires those who don’t research the subject or understand what they’re supposed to be doing. On that basis there would have been a lot of BBC presenters going straight out the door. I imagine that they were given a little more than 24 hours notice that they’d be doing the job so why did none of them do any apparent research? ‘That’s the Palace of Westminster founded by Edward the Confessor 500 years ago, oh no, it was bit longer than that wasn’t it…?’ To do him credit he was at least noticing what was on the banks of the Thames unlike most of the other commentators who only appeared to be capable of commenting on can’t-get-it-wrong structures such as the London Eye and Big Ben. The Pageant was organised down to a T so there must have been a strict order of who went when, obviously whoever it was who saw a stunningly elegant thirties pleasure barge and announced, ‘Here comes the first of the Dunkirk little boats,’ hadn’t bothered to look at the list or used his head, it was patently obvious the boat would have sunk the moment it was out in the open sea.
I would have loved to know more about the boats, who was sailing them, what they’d done, how they’d come to be selected, who was on them but we hardly got any of that. We got the occasional, ‘There are the Maoris,’ (as they vanished behind another boat), we got to see John Sergeant and Clare Balding and Tess Daly and Matt Baker, the Queen and her party, the Middletons, a brief glimpse of Princess Anne on the Trinity House Boat and another of one of the Princesses taking pictures with her phone, and John Sergeant and Tess Daly and Clare Balding and Matt Baker… but precious little about anyone else and some of them must have been jolly interesting.
And please does anyone know if Richard E Grant was asked to recite On Westminster Bridge at such short notice he didn’t have time to learn his lines, or did some turnip brain in the BBC think it would be cool to have him reading it off his patriotic ipad? On second thought maybe there was sponsorship involved, ipad got another hefty plug from one of the “artists” on the Millennium Bridge.
Pageant organisers 10/10, BBC 3/10 (and I think that’s being generous). And no, I’m not going to put in the link to the Daily Mail and the article about the BBC coverage, take it from me they didn’t like it. I hope it’s going to be a long time before I agree with the Mail again because otherwise I’ll have been Blimped beyond redemption and may have to change the name of this blog to “Disgusted of France.”