17 Nov 2010

Royal wedding: For the sake of them and us

When I first joined Channel 4 News there was an informal acceptance that the programme didn’t “do” Royal stories. The death of Princess Diana saw that one off. But in truth what to do about a Royal Wedding does pose a challenge for all news outfits.

One thing the glossy mags and the tabloids tell us is that all that glitters is not gold. All couples, Royal or other, are unique and experience the joys and tensions of relationships in unique ways. Frankly, whether it be football, royalty, reality television, or some disaster, that brings any couple into public view, we don’t really either need or necessarily want to know.

But that won’t stop anyone – we are in for it. It’ll be a long haul. The AV referendum, the Scottish and Welsh elections and assorted sporting events have seen to it that even fixing a date for the “Royal wedding” is a problem. Rest assured that these two will be no keener that any other engaged couple to flaunt their stuff. But from the news bounty hunters there will be no accommodation, no allowance, and no let up. Eat yer heart out Jolene.

We shall be told more than we ever wanted to know over the next months, and good bit of it will be untrue.

We news people have learned nothing from Diana’s death. By any test, we have the most intrusive and fantasy stricken news sources on earth. They will be in overdrive.

The kindest thing the news outfits can do is to return to where we began – leave it alone. Cover the dress, if we must, cover the location of the nuptials and the date when they are announced, and the day itself – but that will do. This may sound like a dull old killjoy of a question. For their own sakes and our own sanity, meantime, would it be a good idea to leave the Royal couple well alone?

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