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?

Tweets by @jonsnowC4

40 reader comments

  1. adz says:

    There should no longer be a royal family in our country as much as I am a patriot.
    The amount of money that will be spent in this next royal wedding is going to be a disgrace!
    adzmundo TVP

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Adz my thoughts originally.Not about getting rid of Royalty but the cost, until i read this mornings papers.Apparently it is estimated that the wedding will bring in 5 billion plus in manufacturing ,and tourism plus a national feelgood factor.I still think the couples families should foot the wedding bill , and the state the security and policing.

  2. Saltaire Sam says:

    I skipped watching the news last night because I couldn’t stand the inevitable Will’n’Kate stuff.

    It’s bad enough we have to pay for the wedding without having to see their over-indulged lives in detail.

    Channel 4 will do us all a favour if they ignore them

    [Given that Kate will now be drawing public money, will she be forced to pick up litter if she turns down three job offers?]

    1. Butterwater says:

      Wish there was a thumbs up button – this made me laugh

    2. J says:
    3. adrian clarke says:

      Typical old Saltaire.Of course they both work at the minute

  3. Phillip Edwards says:


    There’s no challenge whatever about a “Royal wedding story.” Just ignore it, except for exposing how much of our money is spent on it. After all, there is enough precedent for this divorce-ridden family of sanctimonius reprobates.

    On the other hand you would be doing a public service by in-depth analysis of the unelected Windsors in positions of power, particularly the head of state who got the job without asking for democratic approval of our electorate.

    In the year 2010 the existence of any “Royal” family constitutes a sort of anti-democracy soap opera. Only incorrigible forehead-knucklers, pathetic knee-bowers and genuflecters, and retired south coast pensioners can have anything but contempt for a gang of tax-dodgers with peculiar accents.

    Get rid of the lot of them, and as soon as possible. Democracy demands nothing less.

    1. Meg Howarth says:

      Excellent idea for C4 historical analysis of history of Windsors, Philip. The ConDems are currently promoting the teaching of history in schools – they’ve even appointed a ‘history tsar’, it seems, with no hint of irony at the title – as an essential tool in understanding the country’s development/place in world etc. Please give serious consideration to such a programme.

      Turned on Newsnight last night having, like Sam, switched off C4News, only to find its principal story was some wedding not the economic analysis I wanted to hear. Silly me. Clearly, this hoped-for recession-convenient mass opiate of the people is being exploited to the full. According to Cameron, the ConDem cabinet members thumped the table when the marriage was announced. That says it all.

    2. Kate says:

      ” According to Cameron, the ConDem cabinet members thumped the table when the marriage was announced. That says it all.”

      Cameron must think he has died and gone to heaven. First – and the best thing since sliced bread for the Tories has been the Coalition, with the LibDems wheeled out to take all the flak while the Tories advance their own agenda.
      And now, when their savage cuts are about to bite, up pops a Royal wedding! Heavensent pulp for the masses!

      There will be literally hundreds of “good day(s) to bury bad news” now.

    3. Meg Howarth says:

      Forgot to point out, as intended, the ‘(history) tsar’/monarchy link.

    4. adrian clarke says:

      Phillip i like your anti royalty rhetoric.A pity you do not suggest an alternative .If President Blair,Brown or Cameron is the best you can come up with, then “stuff it”.I understand the Royal wedding will be one of Britain’s largest earners for the state next year!!!

    5. Bogbrush says:

      Sanctimonious reprobates?

      Oh come on – why so much negativity here? I don’t understand why people like Phillip Edwards have to insult a family, a family which is one of the most recognised in the world! Two people are in love so perhaps a congratulatory word might be more British?! Phillip, you’re a boring old fart; wake up and smell the economic benefits to this country. Don’t wake up in a sweat of saliva and dribble in the morning with your pent up anger spilling over into these forums. Instead, be happy old chap…

      Head off to another country (or your graden shed) if you so wish, but keep the insults to yourself and let the rest of us revel in the economic benefits that not only this, but the Olympics too, will bring to the wonderful country next year.

      ’nuff said. Phillip, I shall leave you to your copy of the Independent, your monogrammed slippers, organic milk and high fibre Alpen; and will await your next comment with relish!

  4. Britt_W says:

    I am not a royalist. Therefore, I am not the slightest interested in anything to do with this wedding, full stop.
    But, were I to put myself in the situation of news editors, I do have some sympathy. It must be tough to decide what to report on and what not to.
    As you know, I am an ardent viewer of Channel 4 News and it is extremely rare I miss it. I enjoy the way Channel 4 News stands out from other news programmes in that it skips the gossipy, sensational news and instead digs deeper into more serious news – with an added bit of fun thrown in, for good measure.
    I was disappointed last night though.I didn’t expect you to lead on it, even though I know it was because of that interview being released at 7pm.
    As I am no more interested of this couple’s nuptials than I would be of, say, Brian & Brenda in Chipping Sodbury – I don’t want it to take away precious airtime for other, more ‘real’ news. There is so much in the world that need our attention – let’s not have some unelected monarchs reduce the number of reports coming from your brilliant, hard working reporters around the world.
    So please stay well away from it, Channel 4 news. Or at least – question it.

    As you were. Thanks!

  5. Paul Begley says:

    Congratulations to Kate and William. They seem like decent people who deserve a decent life.

    They didn’t ask for yesterday’s media feeding frenzy – in fact they’ve done their best to avoid this for the last ten years. And having “enjoyed” this attention now, they’ll be fair game for anyone who wants to make a name by doing a hatchet job.

    1. the-Richard-of-Nottingham says:

      …quite so Paul. You have to wonder, given the choice, would they prefer a completely private family wedding ? Or the state sponsored corporate affair ?

      And as Jon puts it “…By any test, we have the most intrusive and fantasy stricken news sources on earth. They will be in overdrive.”.

      Do your stuff Jon, wish them well (they are getting married after all) and leave “the story” well alone.

  6. Kate says:

    ” I was disappointed last night though.I didn’t expect you to lead on it…”

    Oh yes, me too, Britt – disappointed that Ch4 News (normally a paragon of good sense and balance)had gone the way of the plethora of women’s silly mags which feed off this kind of SLEB rubbish. A one minute mention towards the middle or end of the prog, Jon, would have sufficed.
    PLEASE,PLEASE,PLEASE do not clog up the programme in the coming, no doubt nauseating months with updates on this event or its characters.
    I was living in Germany at the time of Charles and Diana’s wedding and even there, there was no escape. Already I have the map out for this one!

  7. Sarah says:

    Yes. It’s boring and pointless for us to sit through, and intrusive and unnecessary for them. ‘Nuff said.

  8. anniexf says:

    Yes, Jon, it would be a very good idea for C4 to do exactly what you suggest. If people have nothing in their lives to hold their interest more than “royalty” then that’s their problem. It’s not in C4’s remit to provide an unlimited diet of “silly season” news material, & other channels will no doubt more than compensate. It will be such a relief to have one wedding-free channelfor the next few months.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Annie , of course they have all the soaps to keep up with

  9. nickbarrett says:

    Yes please leave it alone and cover more important things, if people want to know about the trivial details of the royal wedding there will be ample information out there. We have torture alligations, global warming, afghanistan and a massivly under-reported war in the congo.

  10. adrian clarke says:

    I am a Royalist.I would prefer anything to a President,who would be a political figurehead and therefore very divisive.
    This wedding is a different matter.Eventually William will presumably become King and then live off the public purse,but until then as in other families the wedding should be funded by themselves and the families.
    I have no interest in a daily, weekly or monthly update .Yes, maybe the date,but that is it.
    I was sickened by the coverage and mass outporing of pretended grief over Diana.I will never understand why people have to leave flowers or visit sites of deaths of people unknown to them.It is certainly not British

    1. Moonbeach says:

      I am not a Royalist. I would prefer a President who we could deselect. I would like a system where birth would not be a barrier to becoming the Head of State.

      I agree with you, though, Adrian, about this wedding. The father of the bride should pay the bill then it won’t matter how vulgar and obscene the event will look.

      I do not want any news of these two people and how they are, according to tonight’s ITV’s News at Ten, “wowing the world”. I could not give a toss if they have named the day.

      Although, maybe I’m missing the point. A repeat of the circus that surrounded the life and death of the celeb Diana would obviously appeal to the morons who long for (un)reality TV and need pictures to ‘read’ the news!

    2. bdbcks says:

      have you considered the third option? one that simply doesn’t have a figurehead at all.

      in this technological age of near instantaneous communications why do we need to hand our representation over to someone else for periods of five years at a time? how can tens of thousands of people living in a constituency be adequately represented by just one elected person? and the charade of different political parties has those that are elected being more faithful to their party over the interests of their constituents.

      if the monarchy is to flourish it needs to stop trundling along as if everything is fine in this country (and others) and start re-asserting its authority over parliament. it needs to completely amputate the influence of banks and corporations over those oh so wonderful m of p.
      it must modernize the notion of “democracy” into a model that enables true equality aka the ability via internet to represent ourselves on all major issues aka the removal of the power of the vote from m of p. see how long political parties and how many mp remain if they could no longer oil their own troughs.

      ideal world… no figurehead. reality? monarchy needs to get with it.

  11. Elsie Crochet-Hook says:

    For me, the news story was about the nature of the announcement.

    The Palace followed the exact same model as his parents’ announcement and, to underline the parallels, Kate Middleton was even wearing Diana’s engagement ring and dressed in blue (I think! I wasn’t paying much attention to be honest). It was too creepy and made me shudder.

    The Palace won’t get much sympathy from me when the couple find the ‘intrusion’ unbearable. William could have insisted that things were handled differently, but he didn’t and there will be a price to pay.

    The Royals never learn, do they? And that’s the real story.

  12. margaret brandreth-jones says:

    The Royal family are the most prestigious family GB has and I for one don’t want to undermine our heritage.

    Yes, reporting as for any other wedding should continue as in the past.Rue the day when violent voters overtake that central dignity and state service ethos, which the royals represent.

    The Queen is head of state and William will hold that office some day also.Kate although in her lineage comes from a more humble background,still holds that gentility, which I am sad was ever generally lost.

    I know beneath that royal veneer ,less savoury events have taken place , but so is, as any other section of society. I would prefer this family and the continuity of the Windsors ,as figure heads, to most other families.

    State money is the issue and as many presenters/newscasters have suggested, a vulgar display of opulence would not be appropriate at the wedding. There again, the couple should be applauded for doing it their way and I am sure that they will. They seem happy and relaxed . They also have a recent unhappy past to learn from , where the ” boys ” were traumatised and have survived admirably.

    They will have unscrupulous invasive reporting;but can handle it.

    1. imposthume says:

      You can get up off your knees now, the MBE’s in the post. I hope you are being ironic, but I fear not and I suspect you believe in god as well.

      C4 News should not dwell on this archaic national absurdity, not to preserve the Windors’ privacy but because it will rub in the difference between those on the lowest rung of the benefits ladder – the sick and unemployed, and those on the highest – the royal family, although it is more of a clan than a family.

      Since most of the money that these pointless wastrels spend comes straight out of our pockets, every candle, fillet steak and acre of wedding dress comes at the expense of help for someone who actually needs it.

    2. margaret brandreth-jones says:

      No I mean it. I don’t bow to anyone, I don’t look up to anyone and I don’t pull people down just to look cool, hip , aggressive, contentious or the like.

      I do believe in tradition, I do believe in my State . I am a State Registered Nurse and the Queen is a figurehead of that State.

      I loathe smart ar**s , and I do not believe in the divine, although respect those who do.

    3. adrian clarke says:

      Margaret i agree .I wonder what imposture ,oops imposthume would put in place of The Royal Family ? Some Political “shoe-in” who would be no more popular and have less authority.I am sure Blair would be vying with Brown and Cameron for the post .
      Thumbs up with the digits i no longer have Margaret

  13. Tom Wright says:

    What a gift for the coalition! I’m sure they were thumping the tables – but not for royalist patriotism!

    I can imagine the number of editorial meetings that are going on now right now discussing the coverage: Editors dusting off their royal correspondents, OK and Hello! in a field day of speculation and rehashed old Diana coverage – the ‘Diana’s ring’ story alone will account for acres of newsprint.

    Then there will be an exhaustive examination of Kate’s genealogy, with the Times lionising her father’s business career and the Guardian obsessing over Kate’s feminist credentials (whilst, of course pretending to be ironic and disdainful – they’ll cover the coverage). The Express, the Mail, and the Sun and the Mirror will all be flag waving and getting that special commemorative issue ready!

    ‘Serious’ news coverage is off the agenda for a year! And as soon as the wedding is away, here comes the Olympics! The pain of the cuts might even be over before the bread and circuses run out!

    Think you can avoid it Jon? Good luck CH4 news room, I think you’re having a laugh! Like it or not, the news agenda is set by the Today programme (BBC, obliged) and tabloids!

  14. Fatima Rosales Naya says:

    We switched the telly off last night after the appalling 20 min. coverage of the R. wedding. This is just another plot to avoid reporting what’s really important, like the 7 billion pounds supposedly being paid as bonuses to bankers: money that belongs to all tax payers and should be refunded, as this money doesn’t belong to the banks: we all bailed them out!
    I’d like to hear more about what’s happening with that money and why it cannot be invested on university fees, child benefit, disability allowance, hospitals, etc, etc, etc. THESE ISSUES REALLY MATTER

    1. adrian clarke says:

      i quite agree Fatima,the bankers bonuses should be taken to pay us back.It is almost as criminal as compensation payments to guantanamo detainees said to be being paid to avoid court costs.I am afraid they should be refused access to British courts for something that happened in a foreign land

  15. Jim Flavin says:

    the Royals have a guaranteed income , a ” job ” for life that entails no work – except maybe sitting on ” charity commitees ” – that usually keeep the poor – poor . It is regretable that these people should have a very high lifestyle at taxpayers expense . It is not near democratic – just another circus – and as has been said —to keep peoples minds off other issues .

    1. Paul Begley says:

      William is in the RAF, flying air-sea rescue. Harry is also in the armed forces. When you consider all the factors which limit their choices (security, avoiding any accusation of “cashing in” on royalty, etc), they’ve both found ways to make constructive input to society. It’s fair enough to criticise the institution, but as individuals they seem to be doing their bit.

  16. Elaine Steadman says:

    I watch Channel 4 News because I find it has far superior in depth and unbiased reporting. However, I was incensed this evening when it trotted out the line, (the one the BBC always comes out with), that Princess Elizabeth saved up her ration coupons so that she could buy her wedding dress after the war. PLEASE, do not insult the intelligence of your viewers in this way.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Elaine which channel 4 TV do you watch? Unbiased?? You are having a laugh

  17. Stephen Holman says:

    As we are paying for this wedding i think we should have a national whip-round. The “Firm” will then know to the last penny what would be appropriate to spend.

  18. Gerard Horgan says:

    A perfect story to highlight the staggering inequalities in Britain. Let Channel 4 go into one of the many tower blocks that dot the outskirts of London and ask the people what £50 million could do for the area.

    Sometimes I feel it is more 19th century than 21st.

  19. Meg Howarth says:

    Seems government is likely to propose a Bank Holiday to celebrate the nuptials! Clearly they still want us to believe we’re all in this together!

    We could, however, transform such a national day off in to a 1-day strike, with debates/meetings outside and inside, the length of the nation, as a step to reclaiming our country for ourselves from the bankers, property speculators and legal but unethical financial practices of our political class. NB hope Snowbloggers saw last Monday’s excellent Dispatches programme ‘Riding Europe’s gravy train’, on our MEPs’ financial shenanigans. Recognised a member of my local PCT, who also works for his parliamentary wife/partner. All legal, of course, and more public money.

    If there’s to be a national day off, let’s claim it as our own for the urgently needed national debate on the way forward to a sustainable, fairer and kinder society. This could be our chance. Organising in our local areas, the possibilities are limitless. Regarding the future of the NHS – definitely not safe in ConLib hands: we could use the day off for to discuss ways forward for the NHS. PCTs have to go, no doubt about that, but how do we make the health service manageable?

  20. stelling says:

    Have royals ever shown a trend to have kids out of wedlock before tkaing thier weddign vows? Highly traditional and bring shame ont heir reputuations.

  21. Yvonne McDonald says:

    Where is MY comment?

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