DEBORAH ROSS: I'll be haunted byLinda Robson dressed as the Queen06/05/2022
DEBORAH ROSS: I’ll be haunted forever by Loose Women’s Linda Robson dressed as the Queen
Official figures show that 7.5million watched the BBC’s coverage of Trooping the Colour – almost twice as many viewers as for the second highest rated show on Thursday, ITV’s Coronation Street at 3.8million.
According to rating agency BARB, 5million tuned in for the lighting of Jubilee beacons on Thursday, while Friday’s Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s was seen by 3.6million.
The Crown Jewels documentary on Friday drew 3.1million viewers, against 4.3million for ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent.
The challenge was to watch the Jubilee TV coverage and report back. So that’s what I did, finally blinking into the light many hours later, exhausted, mind buzzing.
Were Charles and Camilla actually in EastEnders? Was Gloria Hunniford absolutely everywhere? Can Kirsty Young present everything from now on?
All I know for sure is that if I had a pound for every time someone said: ‘Say what you like about this country, we know how to put on a show’, I would be very rich indeed. And it would be Dubonnets all round.
The BBC was first out of the gate with a special edition of that hug of a show, The Repair Shop.
Linda Robson in a headscarf on Loose Women”s Jubilee Special
It featured items with a royal connection. The Chief Beefeater at the Tower of London even trucked up in full regalia with the 103-year-old brass lantern illuminated by a single candle that’s still used every night to lock up the Tower. It had a broken handle and a broken pane of glass and it was lovely to see it repaired even if it must have crossed your mind as it did mine: shouldn’t Buckingham Palace have taken care of that? And also: Shall we just crowdfund a torch for the poor fella?
The following morning it was Trooping the Colour.
Kirsty Young hosts the BBC coverage of the Platinum Jubilee
The BBC played it straight, mindful that its Diamond Jubilee coverage was condemned as ‘inane celebrity-driven drivel’. (All I can remember is a grim-faced Queen on a barge in monstrous weather while Ferne Cotton larked about).
It marked the (incredibly welcome) return of Kirsty Young after a period of illness. She was calm professional, soothing, ignored the noisy ducks and always appeared interested in her guests’ anecdotes even if they were being wheeled out for the thousandth time.
Her initial guests were Sir Michael Palin and Dame Penelope Keith. Sky News fought back valiantly with Dame Joanna Lumley while GB News had ‘Alastair Stewart and friends’ – even if it seemed he only had one friend, the historian David Starkey.
Huw Edwards provided the BBC’s commentary while GB News sometimes lost the plot (‘There will be marching and further music… we’re a bit at sixes and sevens’).
On ITV at lunchtime, it was Loose Women with the panellists sporting the Queen’s ‘iconic looks’, which may be something I will never be able to erase from my mind, try as I might.
I may be haunted for all eternity by Linda Robson in a tied-under-chin headscarf and Gloria Hunniford in primrose yellow.
The One Show, meanwhile, over on BBC, later had Gyles Brandreth in a corgi jumper while presenter Alex Jones made the official Jubilee trifle under the watchful eye of Dame Mary Berry.
What a faff of a pudding that is. I was willing Jones to say: ‘Mary, can’t we just do Coronation Chicken again? Mayonnaise, curry powder, and Bob’s your uncle?’
Next on the BBC, EastEnders. I can’t say what was going on plotwise as I haven’t watched since Den served Angie with divorce papers but can tell you that Sharon is still around and appears to have a superpower that allows her to eavesdrop from right across the square.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall in Albert Square during BBC soap Eastenders. She takes a purple ribbon and ties it around a tree in memory of Chantelle, who suffered months of abuse at the hands of her husband Gray Atkins in the soap
The visit of Camilla and Charles was unscripted and the deal was that the cast would respond in character to whatever the royals said. It was all a bit cringe and led to some odd exchanges. Onto the lighting of the beacons, where Kirsty Young was variously joined by Gloria Hunniford (‘I don’t think any other country could do what we’re doing this weekend’) and the singer Elaine Paige (‘the pomp and pageantry, we’re the best at it’).
David Dimbleby covered the Thanksgiving Service at St Paul’s Cathedral for the BBC, with a lot of knowledge worn lightly, although was he right when he said the Queen had wanted to give Meghan and Harry ‘their own procession’?
While meeting the residents of Walford, Charles is introduced to greengrocer Martin Fowler (pictured together), played by James Bye, who explains the history of his market stall dating back generations in his family who have lived on the Square
Didn’t it look like they were simply being kept separate, to avoid any frosty interactions with other members of the Royal Family?
Then it was back to the Tower of London in the evening as Clive Myrie took a close-up look at the Crown Jewels and couldn’t decide whether they are an acceptable part of our history or plundered spoils of war.
Either way, there are diamonds as big as your fist that are genuinely priceless and it made you wonder: One old fella with a single candle locks up all the treasures safely at night? Come on, let’s crowdfund him a torch.
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