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Royal Shelley vision; Auntie did her best to ruin the wedding.


I WOULDN'T go so far as to say the BBC ruined the royal wedding. But it seemed to do its damnedest.

Of course, the BBC's coverage still wiped the floor with ITV's. Royal weddings, like Wimbledon and the Grand National, are what Auntie Beeb does.

As a day-long television event, it was bursting with iconic images: the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight over Buckingham Palace, the red, white and blue London Eye, William's blushing smile on the balcony (so reminiscent of his mother), Kate's grace under pressure... The shots of Westminster Abbey were stunning.

But did we really need that little logo (a red C dropped over a blue W), more reminiscent of Crime Watch?

It was an occasion that cried out for the incisive, reassuring presence of David Dimbleby who may not have the authority of his father Richard or a Tom Fleming but has done enough election night broadcasts to sustain the right mix of informative analysis and chat.

Instead, the BBC handed over the entire event to Huw Edwards, whose harsh, funereal monotone may (or may not)

be OK for 20 minutes reading the news, but not for filling hours of airtime at an event like this.

"I'm told the Beckhams have arrived," the great newsreader intoned.

Edwards was too sombre to provide any light relief - even when a group of minor royals set off from the palace in a procession of grey mini buses as if they were heading for Alton Towers - or indeed, prison.

He hogged the airwaves to such a degree he even announced darkly: "this is hot off the press.

The Duchess of Cornwall's outfit consists of a duck egg blue and champagne dress and coat, hat by Philip Treacy and shoes by Jimmy Choo with a clutch bag by Anna Valentine."

Get her!

The best part of the coverage was in Westminster Abbey - the hymns, the vows, the princes chatting as they waited for Kate - when Edwards was silent.

If only some of his colleagues could have done the same.

Chris Hollins, Alex Jones and Matt Allwright wittered away as if the whole thing was a long episode of The One Show.

Low points included endless interviews with the bloke who taught the Middletons piano and a pig the size of a small dinosaur being roasted in Bucklebury.

Fiona Bruce typified the day's grovelling.

"Are you looking forward to the day?" Fiona probed Boris Johnson. Amazingly, he was.

"In many ways, the whole day is a good dry run for the Olympics," Boris enthused, taking the romance out of it somewhat. Given that everyone (including the royals themselves)

had treated the event like a minor fashion show, what we really needed was someone like Royal Ascot watcher, Peter York.

Edwards and Sophie Raworth were too reverential to point out a faux pas even when we could all see it.

No one mentioned how the youngsters (Beatrice, Zara Phillips, Chelsy Davy) got it so spectacularly wrong.

Princess Eugenie looked even frumpier than Camilla.

Far too many guests had satellite dishes on their heads.

Sally Bercow's attentiongrabbing cleavage was ludicrous. Nick Clegg's wife looked like an extra from Upstairs Downstairs or a Victorian prostitute.

The hatless Samantha Cameron waddled down the aisle clutching a scarf.

Then there was Fearne Cotton, interviewing people just because they had come from Australia.

"How are you guys feeling about it all?" she asked them on The Mall.

"Did you have a good night's sleep?" Yawn.

It was tempting just to stop watching. But it was all strangely compulsive.

Kate and William were impressively dignified.

And where else can you see Joss Stone and Guy Ritchie rubbing shoulders with the Serbian royal family and the King of Tonga?

ITV dumbs it all down

RATHER than give the event any gravitas, the team selected for ITV just cheapened it.

"The Thorpedo's arrived! What a sight!" Julie Etchingham panted at the sight of Aussie Olympian Ian Thorpe.

To host the day, it chose Phillip Schofield (a man most famous for slurring Kerry Katona, Dancing On Ice and Gordon The Gopher) to front what he called "these beautiful high definition pictures".

When Tatler's Kate Reardon informed us the happy couple were NOT the type to be seen tipping out of nightclubs with Paris Hilton but "preferred watching trashy TV", Schofield butted in, "does that mean they're watching mine?"

Many a true word spoken in jest...

Catherine was "our newly minted princess", he said. "Minted" she certainly is now.

Sorry Tara, you blue it

HATS off to Tara Palmer-Tomkinson for buying her outfit from the Chelsea FC Megastore, and accessorising it with matching washing up gloves and a blue gravy dish vertically installed on her head.

Sky News was so excited, they interrupted an interview with David Cameron.

"Oh! We seem to have cut off the PM in mid-flow there, for Tara Palmer-Tomkinson coming in," Eamonn Holmes announced.

"Complete with her lovely hat and of course she's had recent surgery on her nose, which I must say is looking very pretty."

Perhaps he meant "putty".

News hound of the day

Royal reveller: "They are going to be called the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge!" Mark Austin: "Well we don't know yet do we? Oh it's been announced has it? Well you know more than I do!" (ITV1)

Compliment of the day

"She has a beautiful little fascinator" - Julie Etchingham on Chelsy Davy, though personally I thought it was well hidden (ITV1)

Words you don't want to hear during the royal wedding

"David Cameron will be shown to his seat in the choir" - James Mates (ITV1)

Royal exclusive of the day

"I can show you what Prince William will be wearing now. The famous red tunic of these Irish guards is what Prince William will be wearing. He WON'T be wearing the bearskin" - Lorna Dunkley (Sky News). Spoilsport.

Deduction of the day

"The trees are obviously not permanent fixtures" - Eamonn Holmes on, um, Westminster Abbey (Sky News)

Commoner of the day

"What a moment for Michael Middleton - the Yorkshire-born son of an airline pilot" - Sophie Raworth (BBC1)


"The scarcity of the celebrities means it's felt like a very personal wedding hasn't it? A very real wedding. Like the kind of wedding you and I would have"- Mary Nightingale (ITV1). Yes. Just like you and I.

Ask a stupid question

"Where did all that hair come from!" - Mary Nightingale on Victoria Beckham's hair extensions (ITV1). A slum in India?

Fashionista of the day

"Santa looked wonderful I thought" - Fiona Bruce shows how well connected the Royals really are (BBC1)

Anti-climax of the day

Sophie Raworth: "How many practices or dry runs have you had?" Kate Middleton's hair stylist: "As many as four or five... " (BBC1)

Philosopher of the day

"Be who God meant you to be. And you will set the world on fire" - the Bishop of London quoting St Catherine of Siena, confirming why they chose April 29 (St Catherine's Day - geddit?!)

Spin doctor of the day

"If it IS going to chuck it down, it's good luck to have rain on your wedding" - Katie Nicholls - which will be news to anyone who's had their wedding ruined (BBC1)

Optimist of the day

James Mates: "There's been no talk of fairy-tales today, we're more realistic now." Kate Reardon, a few seconds later: "It is... a fairy-tale dress" (ITV1)


John Tracy (Thunderbirds)

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson (Posh bird)

Pippa Middleton Scene-stealer extraordinaire

The Royal Wedding Crashers (C4)

The desperation of the D-list celebrity personified

Jennie Bond Showing Fearne Cotton how it's done

Jake Humphreys' Lancaster fly-by fiasco Step down Commander

David Cameron Did he mention he slept on The Mall for Charles and Diana's wedding?

Those William and Kate masks F aintly sinister


1 In the 1,000 yearhistory of Westminster Abbey, there have only been 16 royal weddings.

2 Westminster Abbey is "a royal peculiar."

3 Prince William's favourite cake is "a refrigerated chocolate biscuit cake."

4 Claire Jones is the "Official harpist to the Prince of Wales."


GUEST King of Tonga FUNEREAL Sombre Huw hogged the limelight CHEAP ITV's Phillip and Julie
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 2, 2011
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