Huge TV Audience For Jubilee Gig

The BBC attracted its biggest British TV audience of the year with the Queen’s diamond jubilee staged outside Buckingham Palace June 4.

The concert, which had a star-studded lineup put together by Gary Barlow that included Paul McCartney, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Kylie Minogue, Tom Jones, Robbie Williams, and Madness drew an average audience of 14.7 million, peaking at 17 million viewers.

“It was the highest rating program across all channels this year,” a BBC spokeswoman confirmed after the show had attracted as much as 65.4 percent of the UK viewing public.

The figures notched up by Britain’s public broadcaster easily beat the 11.9 million that ITV, its independent rival, attracted for the final of “Britain’s Got Talent.”

A day earlier, the Beeb’s coverage of the parades and street parties celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne drew nearly 12 million viewers, or about 60 percent of the British TV audience.

The pageantry dominated the screen throughout the June 1-2 weekend, and for the two public holidays that followed it.
Sky and CNN also gave hours of screen time to Britain’s four-day bash, devoting a larger percentage of their airtime to the protests that inevitably came from groups of disgruntled anti-monarchists.

The BBC may have broken records with its wall-to-wall coverage, but sections of the British media were far from impressed with the quality of it.

The Daily Mail claimed its readers were angry because the BBC had ruined the spectacular fireworks display that closed the concert by running the lengthy programme credits over it.

The paper’s readers were apparently already reeling from a clip when presenter Fearne Cotton, in a bid to show how British commerce was benefiting from the occasion, showed viewers a sick-bag with the Queen’s face printed on it.

The BBC was accused of “shameful” behaviour and “failing to reflect the gravity of the historic event.”

Contributors to British entertainment and media news website Digital Spy agreed the main problem with the concert coverage was the picture quality, suggesting the blurred image was caused by using equipment that repeated a frame every second.