Tuesday 5 June 2012

A complaint about the BBC's Jubilee Pageant coverage

Dear Head of the BBC,

It comes to something, doesn't it, when a ninety year old man with Alzheimer's disease can provide a more interesting commentary than all your finest and most highly paid 'presenters'. Not only was the BBC's coverage of the Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames absolutely lamentable (even wetter than the London weather), as many have already noted, but worse, it was insulting to dogs, a fact that has so far been mysteriously overlooked.

On behalf of my owner Gail and her parents, I would like to claim a refund of their licence fees.

So there I was, relaxing on the sofa on Sunday afternoon, looking forward to an afternoon with the human grandparents, watching the river pageant on TV, prepared for their sake cheerfully to put up with what might be thought an excess of grovelling deference to inherited privilege.

Well I have to tell you it wasn't at all long before Gail started grumbling about the way the BBC commentary team kept telling us that the flotilla was passing in front of so many 'iconic' buildings, without once telling us a single interesting fact about any of these buildings. Surely, the BBC is bursting at the seams with Oxbridge arts graduates who could have provided some more informative cultural context?

Well I just let all this wash over me, until it came to an interview on one of the historic boats in the flotilla, a Dutch barge. My eye was naturally drawn to the beautiful Keeshond sat between the boat's owners. Now this perfectly nice couple had just told the BBC presenter about how Keeshonds were bred to be barge dogs. Intriguing I thought, worth a water-related follow up question or two, perhaps. So imagine my disappointment when I heard the interviewer's inane and hurtful response.

"Fascinating, yes fascinating, and the dog looks just like my microphone".

Well a couple of hours later - it felt like days - it was announced that the planned finale, a Royal Navy helicopter fly past, was cancelled due to the appalling commentary conditions. Human Grandad (HGD) actually woke up at this point and said "I took part in a fly past of Buckingham Palace at the end of the war, did you know that?"

At last, something genuinely interesting.

I'm told that HGD's memory was once excellent, but sadly no longer, and words often elude him, but when Gail located the relevant page in his old RAF log book, more memories surfaced.

"Ah yes, it was Peace Day, 8th June 1946, shortly before I was demobbed. I was flying one of the six Mosquitos. We dipped our wings when we flew over the Palace. Beforehand, our Wing Commander was much more nervous about the whole event than he ever seemed to be when we were in action firing on German shipping."

So, Mr Head of BBC, I  have enclosed in this letter a picture of HGD in his RAF pilot's uniform, with his older brother Jack (a navigator in Bomber Command), taken when they were both on active service in Italy in 1944. I hope this serves as a reminder to you and your vacuous presenters, of what a true British Celebrity looks like.

Yours faithfully,
Bouncing Bertie,

PS I want to exempt the lovely Clare Balding from the criticisms above, as I do believe she is part puppy herself.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Dear Bertie,

    I agree with you that HGD's commentary was far more intersting that anything we have seen so far on our New Zealand TV news of the celebrations in London. My humans used to work in London, so they were watching for anything of intrest about the city they once knew, but alas last night we saw the flotilla beneath grey skies, then a report on how some poor soul got hypotheria by boating up the Thames in the English weather! What can we say?

    Tonight, on our TV news, there were images of old musicians in front of the palace, and then the palace was lit up like a French flag (with the colours red, white and blue).

    Tell HGD that we enjoyed his version of flying past the palace far better than any recent TV news report about London.

    Love and woofs,
    Rilley (and his human)

  3. And as you see, I am so passionate about this I keep making typing mistakes like the one above where I spelt my name wrong!

  4. Wow the story about your human Grandpa is really cool and the picture is great. I hope you are having a lovely visit.

    Loveys Sasha

  5. Well said, as always Bertie. You should be proud of your HGD.

    Tail Wuggles, Rubie xxx

  6. Well said Bertie old chap HGD and the like are the true heros. My HGD (who sadly I never met as he died many years ago) flew on the Berlin Air Lift.

    We agree about Clare Balding, though I do wish she'd stop dressing like Princess Diana circa 1982 and stick to jeans and a fleece, as we all know she'd be much happier! Deccy

  7. How dreadful the jubilee looked like it would be such fun, and dogs are so important to the Royal Family you would think thy would get some coverage!

    urban hounds

  8. Hi Bertie
    I raise a pint to your HGD, I love hearing of storys by those that hardy never get to tell.
    I do think so many folks don't give us the time of day, like oh its just a dog.
    I got the brush off by the local paper once, thought I'd add a bit of class to the photo only to be made to get out the way!!
    The Cheeck of it. Half the time they have know idea just how many folks love a dog story.
    Of course the National Trust gets the 4 paws up, as they do :)
    Love your new header, you might have to do another one if Gail does gets the clippers out!!
    Have a good week
    See Yea George xxx

  9. We thought the commentary was lame, as well. Especially, the keeshond comment. We think there should have been more attention to the corgis...maybe a mechanical one next to the horse.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella and Roxy

  10. My goodness, Bertie, that is, indeed a shocking example of mentals challenged commentators. So many wonderful things they could remark on and yet they just continue with their meaningless babble.

    As for HGD. Wowee! Yes, indeed, a real war hero with lots of exciting tales to tell for sure.


  11. Well said! Plus we love uniforms.
    Lots of slobbers,
    Indigo the Great Dane

  12. Bertie - The BBC commentary was truly depressing . Dumbing down plumbs new depths. There again having an 86 year old lady and her 90 year old husband stand for 5 hours didn't strike me as being the most sensible of ways to celebrate.

    How marvellous to have been in a fly past. Something for HGD to be truly proud about and for the rest of us to be truly grateful for. It's not often in blogs that you can feel pride and love come shining through so clearly.

  13. Bertie,

    What would we do without your passion for "speaking truth to power?"

    Those photos of your HGD and his brother tell the real story.

    We didn't hear the commentaries -- but surely the Queen of 60 years deserved better.

    Wirey love,

    Jake and Just Harry

  14. Right this moment I am listening and watching James Blunt tell all about his being in the Queen's Guard and the Horses and Blunt's time being in the Queen's Life Guard. It is on OUR morning news and there are two of OUR news talkers right there on the spot. They did a wonderful interview with Mr. Blunt. Even let us hear a bit of his beautiful singing voice.
    AND I DID get to see the GORGEOUS Barge that you speak of.
    Now I would have expected for those of you in YOUR Country to have had EVEN MORE indepth coverage of the whole Diamond Jubilee.
    I can certainly understand how you would be UNHAPPY with the coverage you are getting if it is NOT telling you everything you WANT to know and see.
    OH here come the horses and How BEAUTIFUL the guard looks in their DRESS Uniforms. I love it. Playing insturments while on horseback would be sooo difficult.
    We are now waiting for your BEAUTIFUL QUEEN. WHAT an amazing WOMAN she is.
    So sorry that you are disappointed on your coverage...

  15. Bertie, You and your mum must be so proud of HGD and his brother for their service to your country and the world. How cool to see those old log books from the war.


  16. Great post on all fronts. Cheers and Happy Jubilee.
    Best wishes Molly

  17. Oh Buddy... I just saw your QUEEN. She looked so pretty. I loved seein her and the family in the carriage. I am so sorry that you have not had the full coverage that YOU and your QUEEN so RICHLY DESERVE.
    Those TV tawkers are way to wrapped up in THEMSELVES.


  18. Dear Bertie,

    I haven't seen any Jubilee news. That could be because I'm a dog and aren't allowed to turn on the telly. Your report however, is very entertaining. We're having a long weekend coming up thanks to your Queen, which is very nice.

    Hooroo! :) x

  19. What a cool story Bertie about gramps.
    Benny & Lily

  20. I have been looking forward to the Jubilee news because I have respect for QE II. However, I watch little TV and when I do try to find something, its a couple of minutes at the end of a newscast. Good for you for taking on the BBC and giving good info about your dear Grandad. We'd love to hear even more about him.


    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  21. hey Bertie,

    You are correct, your HGD and his brother Jack are true heroes! And they look so handsome and dignified in their uniforms. Great photo! Thank you for sharing your HGD's story. What a wonderful memory. And his actual R.A.F. notes are incredible to look at. So happy you posted those photos!

    I am behind you 100% in your assessment of the BBC. My human has been reading the coverage of it in the Daily Mail and it sounds like the BBC completely dumbed down the event to horrible degrees, showing no intelligence or curiosity or knowledge of the historic event taking place. We also read they continually showed their incompetent celebrity hosts rather than the actual event of the boats on the Thames. So tragic.

    It sounds just like what has happened here in America. We no longer have news, we have celebrity segments of meaningless drivel.

    O.K., I will stop my human's rant here. Sorry, Bertie.

    Anyway, great post Bertie! Enjoy the rest of your time with your HGPs, and I hope you learn more history during your trip.


  22. Bertie you really must send your letter to the BBC. We were most frustrated at times and if anyone on the Beeb mentions a Canaletto moment ever again we will scream!

    Molly, Taffy, Monty and Winnie

  23. Bertie we're sorry you were so disappointed with the commentary. We didn't get to see that part of the celebrations. You should definitely tell the BBC about your concerns. Maybe they need to employ someone like yourself in the future to make sure things are done correctly!

    Mum absolutely loves hearing about your Grandad. He and his brother looked fab in their uniforms. We love hearing stories from our Poppa too. Take care Bertie. No worries, and love, Stella and Rory

  24. Oh Bertie, how I hear you - my She Two Legged One whinged and whinged about the commentary - such inane stuff, I fell asleep almost immediately!!

    As to your HGD, well, that was the most interesting thing - and doesn't he and his brother look dashing in their uniforms. Your HGD has some amazing stories and thank you so much for sharing it with us. It's wonderful to read about the the heroes out there. Your HGD is a very special human.



  25. Very well said Bertie.

    Love and licks, Winnie

  26. What handsome lads! And how wonderful that your dad kept all his log books. Now that's history.

    We missed most of the Jubilee celebration due to mama being out of town for a family wedding. But one certainly expects high standards of the BBC which apparently were not met in this instance. The bits and pieces we saw of the broadcase were lovely, if rainy, though and we certainly wish H.M. well.

    Jed & Abby

  27. Wow, what happened that between leaving our first comment a hour or so ago and this one, comment moderation has been invoked?! Do you need Jed to bite someone for you? Or Abby to sue someone?

    Jed & Abby