Diamond Jubilee 2012: What’s on TV?

IT IS a truth universally acknowledged that the only valid reason for the existence of the British Royal Family in this day and age is to allow its subjects a few days off work, appease the coffers of bunting manufacturers, and to give Nicholas Witchell a sense of purpose.

The BBC’s genuflecting royal correspondent will doubtless be in evidence throughout this weekend of celebration, as TV goes all-out crazy for Her Maj. Proving that no franchise is immune to the Jubilee bug, The Culture Show launches the coverage on BBC2 at 8:20pm this evening, with art critic Alistair Sooke examining portraits of Britain’s female rulers throughout the ages.

Tomorrow on BBC1 at 1:30pm, The Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant features Huw “whispering” Edwards presenting four-and-a-half action-packed hours of live coverage following a flotilla of over 1,000 vessels sailing along the River T. It should be a million laughs.

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Later on BBC1 at 7:30pm, tireless sycophant Gary Barlow stars in On Her Majesty’s Service, a documentary following him on his global mission to record the Jubilee song he wrote with Andrew Lloyd Webber. Over on STV at 6:30pm, obsequious dullard Alan Titchmarsh presents All the Queen’s Horses: A Diamond Jubilee Special, a spectacular equine gala set in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

That man Barlow returns on Monday on BBC1 at 7:30pm for The Diamond Jubilee Concert, featuring a host of stars including Shirley Bassey, Elton John, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder. It finally winds down on Tuesday with endless coverage of the Queen and Prince Philip attending a special service at St Paul’s Cathedral on both BBC1 and STV from 9:15am and 8:30am respectively.

Don’t say I haven’t warned you.