BBC vows NOT to mess up Platinum Jubilee coverage

BBC vows NOT to mess up its Platinum Jubilee coverage this week after 4,500 complaints about its Diamond Jubilee output in 2012… from the Fearne Cotton ‘sick bag moment’ to ‘ignorant’ stars incorrectly calling the Queen ‘Her Royal Highness’

  • BBC received widespread criticism for ‘dumbing down’ celebrations in 2012
  • In one segment, presenter Fearne Cotton held up sick bags with Queen’s face on
  • Viewers also took aim at the BBC’s ‘inane’ coverage of the River Pageant 
  • Matt Baker described monarch as ‘Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II’ 
  • BBC’s chief content officer, said it is keen to avoid the mistakes of 2012 
  • Charlotte Moore said they are ‘mindful’ that presenters are ‘properly briefed’ 
  • Latest Platinum Jubilee news as the Queen celebrates 70 years of service

The BBC has promised not to mess up its Platinum Jubilee broadcasts, a decade after the corporation received thousands of complaints for its coverage of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. 

The Corporation received widespread criticism for ‘dumbing down’ the celebrations in 2012. 

The focus of much of the anger was a segment in which presenter Fearne Cotton showed viewers a sick-bag adorned with the Queen’s face.

Viewers also took aim at the BBC’s ‘inane’ coverage of the River Pageant, as well its interviews with celebrities. The event was described as ‘celebrity-driven drivel’. 

Former Blue Peter presenter Matt Baker was described as ‘unprepared, ill-informed and patronising’ following his stints on air as part of the BBC team. 

On one occasion, he described the monarch as ‘Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II’, rather than Her Majesty. Overall, the broadcaster received more than 4,500 complaints. 

Among the critics were Alan Titchmarsh and Stephen Fry, who attacked the BBC after Baker’s gaffe.  

But, speaking in The Times today, Charlotte Moore, the corporation’s chief content officer, said the broadcaster was keen to avoid the mistakes of 2012.  

‘We’re very mindful to make sure that everybody is properly briefed. The logistics and planning that’s gone into next week is quite extraordinary,’ she said. 

Several well-known BBC stars are contributing to the coverage of the Platinum Jubilee from Thursday through to Sunday, including Huw Edwards, Clive Myrie and Clare Balding. Kirsty Young, who presented BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs for 12 years, will be the lead anchor. 

The celebrations begin on Thursday with Trooping the Colour, after which the Queen will join other members of the Royal Family on the Buckingham Palace balcony to watch a flypast by more than 70 aircraft from the Royal Air Force, Army and Royal navy. 


The BBC has promised not to mess up its Platinum Jubilee broadcasts, a decade after the corporation received thousands of complaints for its coverage of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Above: Fearne Cotton and Paloma Faith were slammed after holding up sick bags with the Queen’s face on and also displaying other monarch-themed merchandise during the Diamond Jubilee broadcast

Cotton was also criticised after she addressed a Second World War veteran during an interview as ‘Jim’, even though his name was John

Moore also denied reports of a rift between Buckingham Palace and the BBC following the corporation’s documentary last year that assessed the media relations of the Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex. 

At the time, an extraordinary joint statement from Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensingson Palace said the series had contained ‘overblown and unfounded claims’.

Buckingham Palace reportedly threatened a boycott on future projects with the BBC after courtiers were not allowed to view the programme before the first episode aired.  

But Moore said: ‘It’s been a really great collaboration where we’ve worked with all of our partners, from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the royal households, to make this right.’

The criticism levelled at the BBC in 2012 came after several on-air gaffes by presenters. 

Cotton was slammed following a segment with pop star Paloma Faith, in which the pair held up sick bags adorned with the Queen’s face. A strapline on the bags urged users to ‘keep this handy in June 2012’. 

Former Blue Peter presenter Matt Baker was described as ‘unprepared, ill-informed and patronising’ following his stints on air as part of the BBC team. On one occasion, he described the monarch as ‘Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II’, rather than Her Majesty

Holding the bag, Miss Faith explained: ‘If you’ve eaten too much, you can just vomit into a jubilee sick-bag.’

Miss Cotton replied: ‘How lovely is that? And the colours, red or blue, it’s up to you.’

Also shown was a paper mask of the Queen’s face, a solar-powered model of Her Majesty and a monarch-shaped ice cream scoop. 

Other gaffes included the moment that a fashion expert, who was discussing royal headwear, said the Duchess of Cambridge’s hat was made by the same milliner who ‘made Nelson’s hat for Waterloo’.

This went uncorrected despite the fact that Admiral Lord Nelson died at Trafalgar, ten years before the Battle of Waterloo.

Viewers also took aim at the BBC’s ‘inane’ coverage of the River Pageant, as well its interviews with celebrities. The event was described as ‘celebrity-driven drivel’

At other points the Coronation date was given as 1952 rather than 1953, while the Duke of Edinburgh who was then 90, was said to be 92

The Corporation’s coverage of the Thames river pageant was described as ‘celebrity-driven drivel’ as One Show host Baker came in for heavy criticism.

The presenter, who appeared alongside Sophie Raworth, was described as ‘unprepared, ill-informed and patronising.’

As well as wrongly addressing the Queen as ‘Her Royal Highness’, he also admitted he did not know the meaning of semaphore – the system of communication using flag and hand signals. 

Cotton was also criticised after she addressed a Second World War veteran during an interview as ‘Jim’, even though his name was John. 

Presenters twice reported that the naval warship HMS Belfast, which is moored on the Thames near Tower Bridge, was 91,000 tonnes. This would make it by far the heaviest vessel ever. In fact, the ship weighs 11,500 tonnes. 

High-profile critics of the coverage included Mr Fry, who said on Twitter: ‘Has the BBC ever presented a more mind-numbingly tedious programme in its history?

‘HRH The Queen, said the first ignorant presenter. HRH?

‘But, dear me, this is eggier and cheesier than a collapsed souffle. Deeply embarrassing.’ 

BBC veteran Michael Buerk was another critical voice. In an article for the Mail on Sunday, he argued the Diamond Jubilee was ‘betrayed’ by dumbed-down coverage. 

‘The one enduring British institution [the Monarchy] was mocked by another that had shamefully lost its way,’ he wrote. 

‘On the screen, a succession of Daytime airheads preened themselves, or gossiped with even more vacuous D-list ‘celebrities’. With barely an exception, they were cringingly inept.’ 

The BBC’s coverage on Thursday begins at 10am with Trooping the Colour and the subsequent RAF flypast. 

From 8pm on BBC One, the corporation will then show its coverage of the lighting of thousands of beacons around the UK. 

The Royal Family will watch the lighting of the principle beacon outside Buckingham Palace. 

On Friday from 9.15am, the BBC will show the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral. 

The event will be attended by the Royal Family and will be presented by veteran broadcaster David Dimbleby, along with Sophie Raworth. 

On Saturday, from 7.30pm, the BBC will host the Platinum Party at the Palace concert in front of Buckingham Palace.

It will feature stars including Queen + Adam Lambert, Alicia Keys, Duran Duran and Diana Ross and will be broadcast live on BBC One.

Then on Sunday the BBC will show the Jubilee Pageant from 1pm. 

A spectacular parade featuring a cast of thousands including puppets and celebrities and tributes to the seven decades of the Queen’s reign will move down The Mall and past Buckingham Palace. 

The finale will feature Ed Sheeran performing, and the singing of the national anthem in front of the palace. 

Viewers will also be able to watch the celebrations on Sky News from Thursday.   

A grand finale to celebrate not just the Queen but Britain too… in all its colourful, quirky glory: Pageant mastermind NICHOLAS COLERIDGE looks ahead to the showpiece event set to be marvelled at by a BILLION viewers

By Nicholas Coleridge for the Daily Mail 

There were always two objectives for the Platinum Jubilee, one easy, the other more complex.

The easy one is applauding the Queen. With only four days to go until the start of the big Jubilee weekend, the sense of excitement and patriotism is here for all to see.

Thousands of street parties have been organised from village greens to city centres, high streets are awash with Union Flags, flowers and bunting.

If you want to assess the popularity of the Queen, look around. Her Majesty must be the only world leader more popular today – 70 years after she took the job – than she was on the day she began. Presidents and prime ministers are lucky if they remain popular for seven months.

Already she is the longest-serving monarch in our islands’ story, and her reign spans one of the most remarkable and transformative periods of history.

And therein lies the more complex challenge. How to tell the story of the United Kingdom over the Queen’s seven-decade reign from the post-war privations of the 1950s, through flower power and Moon landings, punks and yuppies, all the way to our digital age?

How to invoke memories that all parts of the nation can identify with, and get behind, when we have moved from being a country of bowler hats and furled umbrellas to the full-on multicultural experience, with dozens of different ethnicities reflecting their Britishness in different ways?

The Platinum Jubilee Pageant, of which I am Co-Chair, will be held next Sunday: the culmination of the celebrations, the largest and most inclusive.

Right from the start, both Palace and Government have seen this as a unifying event, a tribute to the life and times of the Queen, but also to our nation itself; a joyful after-party for the pandemic, an opportunity to remember what we all have in common, our unity and diversity magnified through the prism of the sovereign.

At the time of the Coronation, could the Queen – could anyone? – possibly have predicted the changes in store for our country? Almost everything is different: the shape of our cars and buses, our holiday aspirations (only the very rich travelled abroad in 1953), our diets (who would have guessed that Thai curry and chicken tikka masala would supplant the likes of shepherd’s pie?). Failure to own a flatscreen TV and a laptop have become indicators of modern poverty.

Ahead of the Platinum Jubilee next weekend, Nicholas Coleridge looks ahead to the 70th anniversary showpiece event set to be marvelled at by a billion viewers (file photo)

The team that choreographed the Coronation didn’t need to give a moment’s thought to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and the rest of it, but modern national events devote months to planning the social media. Extraordinary to remember that the British public watched the Coronation on the sole channel available, the BBC, in black and white, with many families purchasing their first TV specially, or renting a set for the occasion.

There had been considerable Cabinet debate on whether it was quite seemly to film Her Majesty inside Westminster Abbey, with the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, firmly against the idea. The young Queen refused his advice, and an average of 17 people were glued to each television set across the country, crowded into front rooms.

I very much hope that, for the Platinum Jubilee, families will watch at least part of the unfolding events together as a community activity. Or will we watch the parades and pageantry alone in our bedrooms, on iPhones and iPads? That would be sad.

If some soothsayer had warned the Queen in 1952 ‘Your Majesty, during your reign I foresee punks with spiky hair, glam rockers and New Romantics’, I suspect that she might have had misgivings. But these sub-groups, and many more, are represented in the pageant, all of them willing subjects of the Queen.

Thousands of street parties have been organised from village greens to city centres, high streets are awash with Union Flags, flowers and bunting. Westminster Abbey in London pictured

Although staged in London on the streets around the Mall leading to the Victoria Monument and Buckingham Palace, the cast of pageant players is national. When Queen Victoria had her famous Diamond Jubilee in 1897, the pageant consisted mostly of troops from across the British Empire, who sailed to England to pay homage to their Queen Empress.

The Platinum Jubilee Pageant for Queen Elizabeth II includes 2,000 mounted and marching military men and women from the British Armed Services, and from much of the Commonwealth too. But in addition, there will be double that number of citizens, coming from every part of the United Kingdom – from the Midlands, North East and North West of England, the Scottish Highlands to the furthest tips of Cornwall and Derry.

Some of the participants have seldom, if ever, visited London before. The logistical challenge of bringing so many thousands to the city from Glasgow and Cardiff, Plymouth and the Isle of Wight, Coventry, Thurrock and Nottingham, is extraordinarily complex.

But each of these groups has spent months creating and rehearsing spectacular tableaux vivants in the Queen’s honour – giant sculptures, the height of three-storey houses, depicting the heraldic beasts of the Kingdom. There will be giant, Tolkien-style oaks and maypoles, wire-framed dragons and marionette puppets of Her Majesty’s corgis.

And at the heart of it all, of course, the gold state coach drawn by eight horses from the Royal Mews, originally built for King George III, and entirely renovated for this unique day. By skilful digital artistry, film of the young Queen acknowledging the crowds on her way to her Coronation in 1953 will be projected from inside the coach, so that she will appear to wave to the crowds from the windows on both sides of the vehicle.

One striking aspect of the pageant has been the eagerness of different ethnicities to take part. If proof were needed of the effectiveness of the Queen’s hundreds of overseas tours, and her thousands of visits to different communities at home, this is it. Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, Caribbean Christian groups, Buddhists: all have said yes, all seeing the point of honouring the Queen, all feeling a connection.

Every kind of music will feature in the parade: multiple bagpipes and several brass bands, samba reggae, batala drummers, gospel choirs, disco, punk, Punjabi bhangra, jazz and steel bands, the mounted band of the Household Cavalry. If anything reminds you of the richness of the British musical scene, here it is.

Buckingham Palace has been skilful in conceiving a Jubilee weekend covering all bases. If you are a traditionalist, you have the Trooping the Colour, in all its military precision and splendour, and the dignified Service of Thanksgiving to be held at St Paul’s. If you are eco-minded, there’s the Queen’s Green Canopy, a huge tree-planting initiative that also makes 70 ancient woodlands and 70 ancient trees part of the celebration.

Bake Off devotees have had the great Jubilee pudding contest, won by Jemma Melvin from Southport with her lemon Swiss roll and amaretti trifle. The pony-mad have had the Royal Windsor Horse Show. For the community-minded, there’s the lighting of beacons and the Big Lunch. For retro-ravers, the rock concert with Diana Ross, Queen and Elton John.

And as the grand finale: the smorgasbord of military tradition, nostalgia, future-gazing, grooviness, multiculturalism and multi-surprises of the Platinum Pageant.

At my prep school in East Sussex, where we sang the National Anthem obsessively, I must have sung the words ‘Long to reign over us’ hundreds of times, without giving the words a second thought. At the time, the Queen had scarcely reigned over us for a dozen years.

The process of helping organise the Jubilee has invested those lyrics with a special poignancy. To serve as our noble, gracious and glorious Queen for 70 years is an astounding achievement. If anyone deserves a celebration, it is Her Majesty.

Nicholas Coleridge is Co-Chair of the Platinum Jubilee Pageant with Sir Michael Lockett.

Now let’s get the party started… Our guide shows how it’s going to be a spectacular four days

By Kate Mansey 

Britain has never seen one before… and may never do so again. So break out the bunting and get ready to celebrate this year’s historic Platinum Jubilee. Over a billion viewers worldwide are expected to tune in to watch the festivities, and more than 16,000 street parties are planned across the UK. The celebrations begin with two bank holidays – Thursday and Friday – and culminate on Sunday with a rousing, star-studded rendition of the National Anthem. Here is your run-down to a four-day weekend which promises to be both happy and glorious…

Thursday, June 2

Queen’s Birthday Parade

At 10am the festivities begin with a special Trooping the Colour parade. It will include military personnel and members of the Royal Family on horseback and in carriages.

The finest of British pomp and pageantry will be on display as the Colour – a regimental flag – is trooped by the Irish Guards, which have Prince William as their Colonel.

A flypast by more than 70 aircraft from the Royal Air Force, Army and Royal Navy will follow the parade, which has marked the official birthday of the British Sovereign for more than 260 years.

Diana Ross and Sir Rod Stewart to headline Platinum Party At The Palace 

Diana Ross and Sir Rod Stewart are among the headline acts at the Platinum Party At The Palace, which promises to be a highlight of the celebrations.

Stars from opera to pop music will appear on three huge stages and Sir Elton John will pre-record a special performance.

The BBC’s live broadcast starts on Saturday at 8pm with a performance by Queen, with singer Adam Lambert, which organisers say will ‘summon memories of Brian May’s historic appearance on the Palace roof at the Golden Jubilee Concert’.

Other performers include Elbow, Alicia Keys, George Ezra, Hans Zimmer, Ella Eyre, Duran Duran, Andrea Bocelli, Sam Ryder, Jax Jones, Mabel and Diversity.

The display – featuring three times the number of aircraft in the Queen’s last birthday flypast in 2019 – will include an aerobatic performance by the Red Arrows, alongside helicopters and other aircraft that have been used to respond to recent events in Ukraine and during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Queen, joined by working members of the Royal Family, will watch from the balcony at Buckingham Palace.

Beacons

As the sun sets on the first day of celebrations, thousands of Platinum Jubilee beacons will be lit throughout Britain and across the Commonwealth.

At 9.25pm, members of the Royal Family will gather to watch as a 21m (69ft) Tree of Trees sculpture is lit outside Buckingham Palace.

Friday, June 3

Service at St Paul’s Cathedral

Great Paul, the country’s largest church bell, will peel to signify a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s.

Plans are in place to take into account the Queen’s comfort, and she is likely to enter from a side door. Members of the family expected to attend include the Duke of York and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

The service starts at 11.30am and will include a new anthem by Judith Weir, Master of the Queen’s Music, with words from the third chapter of the Book Of Proverbs.

Afterwards the Lord Mayor will host a reception at the Guildhall, with Royals arriving from 12.25pm.

Diana Ross (pictured) and Sir Rod Stewart are among the headline acts at the Platinum Party At The Palace, which promises to be a highlight of the celebrations

Saturday, June 4

Derby at Epsom Downs

Royals are expected to attend the famous race day from 4.30pm, and 40 of the Queen’s past and present jockeys will form a guard of honour.

Party at the Palace

A spectacular line-up of stars will perform at a concert near the Victoria Memorial, outside Buckingham Palace. There are 22,000 tickets but a further 100,000 are expected to be available on the Mall itself. Millions are expected to watch from 8-10pm when the concert is broadcast live.

A flypast by more than 70 aircraft from the Royal Air Force, Army and Royal Navy will follow the parade, which has marked the official birthday of the British Sovereign for more than 260 years. The Red Arrows pictured over Buckingham Palace in June 2012 for the Diamond Jubilee

Sunday, June 5

Big Jubilee Lunch

More than 16,000 street parties are planned and more than 60,000 people have registered to host community lunches across the country.

There will also be 600 Big Jubilee Lunches across the Commonwealth and beyond.

Jubilee Pageant

An ambitious three-hour pageant will transform the streets of London with a vibrant display of colour and dance.

The show will culminate in a grand finale with a performance by Ed Sheeran, before a gospel choir and military band lead the nation in singing the National Anthem.

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