I was in the same room as the TV yesterday, which was tuned to the CBC’s “coverage” of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations along the Thames River. Every time I paid a bit of attention, Peter bloody Mansbridge was committing another linguistic atrocity (HM-C-S Belfast? She’s a former Royal Navy ship, not an RCN vessel, Peter — oh, and she’s a light cruiser, not a “battle cruiser”). And aside from the Royal Barge, and the canoe from Peterborough, the boat that got the most attention was a bloody power boat that apparently was in a James Bond film. Crikey!
It seemed as though every appearance of a maple leaf had to be relayed to viewers — not, mind you, actual footage of the things they were talking about. The mandate seemed to be to keep the faces of the presenters front-and-centre all the time when they weren’t showing the Royal Barge. And on the odd occasion they’d show part of the flotilla, the CBC personalities felt the need to talk as much as possible even while they weren’t on camera.
From the National Post, Scott Stinson on the banality of it all:
Long after the royal barge had passed my vantage point near Chelsea Bridge on Sunday afternoon, I nipped into a London pub to warm up, dry off, and catch the rest of the proceedings on the television.
After the first few times someone on the BBC broadcast gushed about this or that aspect of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, I chalked it up to a mild case of homerism. The 1,000-boat flotilla was, after all, an impressive spectacle. Then I noticed how often the commentators were using the pronoun “we” when describing things, as in “we are all so anxious to catch a glimpse of Her Majesty.” So much for journalistic detachment. By the time one of the broadcasters was positively marvelling at the skill and ingenuity of the captain who was in the process of docking the royal barge, it was apparent that most of the Beeb’s broadcast team had gone right bloody native.
I mean, shouldn’t docking a boat be part of the job? Would we not expect that the person given the task of piloting the Queen up the Thames be better than decent at it? Yet, here was the commentator, oohing and aahing at the fact that the captain of the Spirit of Chartwell had pulled up alongside the dock and was now moving the boat sideways up to it for a gentle landing. “Look at that!,” he enthused. “It’s amazing!”
Jan Moir in the Daily Mail:
Turn the royal trumpets to the parp and piffle setting. Muffle the funeral drums. For on a molten grey stretch of the Thames, with a global television audience of millions watching, something died yesterday.
It was the BBC’s reputation as a peerless television broadcaster of royal events. It just could not survive under an onslaught of inanity, idiocy and full cream sycophancy uttered, muttered and buttered on thickly by a team of presenters who were encouraged to think that they were more important than the events unfolding around them.
Someone, somewhere thought that their celebrity personalities were enough to see them through this all-day broadcast. How very wrong they were.
‘I’ve just spotted my 70-year-old dad out there,’ gurgled Sophie Raworth, as barges packed with senior royals and VIPs slid by, unremarked upon. Who was in all the other boats? We never did find out.
Yes, the BBC1 coverage of the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant was historical — historically awful.
[. . .]
What were Beeb bosses thinking? If ever an event was crying out for a Dimbleby to dimble nimbly in the shallows, with that trademark mixture of gravitas, humour and sagacity, then this was it.
Instead, we got Sophie Raworth and Matt Baker, bouncing around as if they were presiding over the jelly stall at a chimps’ tea party, somehow managing to sound patronising about nearly everything.