BBC made wrong call

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY/ FRIDAY EXTRA -

of the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday cel­e­bra­tions was snubbed by Bri­tain’s pub­lic broad­caster in favour of screening Aus­tralian soap opera Neigh­bours, it has been re­vealed. In a move that drew wide­spread criticism at the time, the BBC passed up an op­por­tu­nity to tele­vise the July 2000 event and did not give rea­sons for its de­ci­sion. Twelve years later, de­tails have emerged in a new book by Sir Michael Parker – who was at the heart of or­gan­is­ing the royal ma­tri­arch’s centenary bash – that a pro­gram­ming clash was to blame. ‘‘The BBC had just told me they would not be cov­er­ing the cel­e­bra­tion as they had in 1990,’’ Sir Michael writes in his book It’s All Go­ing Ter­ri­bly Wrong: The Ac­ci­den­tal Show­man, of which The Sun­day Tele­graph pub­lished ex­cerpts. ‘‘I was amazed and not a lit­tle an­noyed. One snooty pro­ducer . . . said that it was an event of lit­tle im­por­tance and of no in­ter­est to the pub­lic, and any­way its tim­ing clashed with Neigh­bours.’’ An­other net­work stepped in to broad­cast the birthday event, which in­cluded a pro­ces­sion of sol­diers and civil­ians through Lon­don. More than 7 mil­lion view­ers turned on. The BBC at­tracted 3.5 mil­lion on the same day for its reg­u­lar screening of Neigh­bours.

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