Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

BBC's Jubilee coverage 'inept'

Michael Buerk has launched a stinging attack on the corporation's coverage of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations

BBC veteran Michael Buerk has launched a stinging attack on the corporation's "cringingly inept" coverage of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Reviewing the year gone by, the former newsreader writes in the Mail on Sunday that it left him "ashamed" of the company that has employed him for decades.

Referring to the way June's Thames river pageant was covered by the BBC, Buerk said: "The one enduring British institution was mocked by another that had shamefully lost its way.

"Out on the water, a tribute to the monarch that resonated back to the Middle Ages, rich in historical continuities, a floating salute to past glory and present fortitude. On the screen, a succession of daytime airheads preened themselves, or gossiped with even more vacuous D-list 'celebrities'. With barely an exception, they were cringingly inept.

"Nobody knew anything and nobody cared. The main presenter couldn't even work out what to call the Queen.

"The Dunkirk Little Ships, the most evocative reminders of this country's bravest hour, were ignored so that a pneumatic bird-brain from Strictly Come Dancing could talk to transvestites in Battersea Park.

"I was so ashamed of the BBC, I would have wept if I hadn't been so angry."

The corporation received more than 2,400 complaints from the public about some of its live broadcasts over the weekend, with much of the blame being directed at George Entwistle, the then head of BBC Vision who went on to become director-general.

Referring to Mr Entwistle's short-lived tenure at the top of the corporation after resigning in the light of the Jimmy Savile scandal, Buerk went on: "The worst thing was that it was deliberate - planned that way to be 'light' and 'inclusive'.

"The BBC actually congratulated itself, and the executive ultimately responsible was promptly promoted to become the most disastrous director-general in the corporation's history."

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