The perfect warm-up for a Jubilee television spectacular was on the radio
When it comes to live coverage, the BBC has undoubtedly let television take over, giving up the field almost entirely to it for events such as Trooping the Color and Sunday’s show on The Mall. What radio covered, however, tended to be more targeted and, refreshingly, far less celebrity-focused than on TV. (While we loved Kirsty Young’s incredible pegging feat for BBC One, there’s a limit to how much Lulu some of us can handle.)
So ahead of Friday’s Thanksgiving service for the Queen’s Reign, as TV cameras spent hours capturing the ‘colour’ of every Tom, Meghan and Harry rushing through St Paul, the woman’s hour (Radio 4) Anita Rani led an extremely passionate debate (with Alison Weir, Lady Antonia Fraser, Jung Chang, Kate Williams and Tracy Borman) on the greatest queens in history.
When coverage moved to the service at St Paul’s, presenter Eleanor Oldroyd did an exceptional job of bringing the ceremonial splendor and sense of occasion to life with plenty of detailed descriptions and advice regarding the key elements of the ceremony. And, as you might expect, the surge in choral music (including Judith Weir’s splendid, specially written By Wisdom) has lost nothing by sticking to sound alone.