BBC made wrong call
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.