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BBC blames lack of pomp for turn-off.

A DISAPPOINTING 14 million viewers tuned in to the Royal Wedding - half the 28 million who watched Prince Charles marry Diana in 1981.

BBC 1's coverage of Edward and Sophie's marriage in Windsor, fronted by Michael Buerk and Sue Barker, pulled in 8.6 million viewers.

The ITV coverage, hosted by Trevor McDonald, attracted an audience of just 5.3 million - 700,000 fewer than Roy Walker's Catchphrase show the previous Saturday. A BBC spokeswoman blamed the lack of pomp.

She said: "We didn't expect this wedding to get anything like the figures Charles and Diana got. He is the future monarch after all.

"Other weddings have had full military turn-out and have been a lot more showy.

"The public have understood all along that this one would be quieter."

But an ITV spokeswoman said the channel was pleased with its viewing figure.

She said: "We gained nearly 40 per cent of the audience who were watching the Royal Wedding.

"Gone are the days when everyone automatically tuned into the BBC for events like these."

The ceremony was watched by far fewer people than all the other Royal Weddings of recent years.

Princess Anne's marriage in 1973 to Captain Mark Phillips drew a combined audience of 27.8 million.

And Prince Andrew's 1986 wedding to Sarah Ferguson attracted 20.5 million.

Despite the BBC being the traditional favourite for such events, Mirror TV critic Charlie Catchpole found ITV's coverage to be the best.

He wrote yesterday: "In terms of entertainment ITV won hands down."
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Methven, Nicola
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 22, 1999
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