Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Queen's (Future) Funeral

So, I was reading the other day as to how when the Queen finally shuffles off this mortal coil, we'll get two extra bank holidays: one for the funeral, one for the coronation of her successor.  Which means that we'll have to hope that she pops her clogs during the Summer so that we'll have the best chance of being able to fully enjoy these extra days off.  That said, the sad fact is that most elderly people tend to snuff it during the Winter months - it's the cold that gets them.  Still, I doubt that Her Majesty will have any difficulty affording the heating bills for Buckingham Palace, so we might get lucky.  I know, I know, I really shouldn't be looking at the death of the monarch simply as a chance to get a couple of days off - but we've got to seize these opportunities when they come.  Let's not forget that we were cheated out of a day off when they decided to hold Princess Diana's funeral on a Saturday. That said, on that day, I did make the most of the empty roads to drive down to the New Forest in record time, (which included 'doing the ton' on that bit of dual carriageway as you leave Romsey, I like to think of it as being my special tribute to the deceased Diana: The Princess Diana Memorial Speed Run).  Apparently, one of the other things which will happen when the Queen finally snuffs it is that, between the announcement of her death and the funeral, the BBC will broadcast no comedy.  How will we be able to tell the difference?

Obviously, back in the pre-digital age, when we only had the terrestrial TV channels, the death of some national figure meant that all the normal schedules would be suspended and we'd be forced to watch sombre tributes on every channel for days on end.  Indeed, I remember that when Princess Diana died on a Saturday night, I awoke the next morning to find every radio station playing sombre music and every TV channel seemingly simulcasting the same news reports.  It was a bloody relief when Channel Four broke ranks and returned to its regular schedules late in the morning: I never thought that I'd be glad to see an episode of The Waltons.  But from then until the funeral, most TV and radio became respectful and bland.  Any film involving a car crash was yanked from the schedules, nothing with swearing in it was allowed.  I recall how the DJs on Radio One weren't allowed to banter as normal, they just played the blandest possible records and made uncontroversial comments about the weather in between them.  But nowadays, with the plethora of digital channels on offer, I really don't see many of them suspending their normal schedules in the event of the Queen's death.  I can just see Dave announcing, on the day of the funeral, its special tribute to Her Majesty in the form of back-to-back episodes of QI in which she is mentioned by Stephen Fry.  Perhaps Quest could give us the Queen Elizabeth commemorative Wheeler Dealers marathon, culminating in a new episode where they buy and restore a Daimler like the Queen's - which Mike Brewer then makes a small loss on when he tries to flog it.  The possibilities are endless.



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