U.K. TV Networks, Music Stars to Celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee
LONDON - Ahead of the Summer Olympics, Britain has its first big TV event of the summer in the form of celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II's 60th anniversary on the throne, which will play out over a long weekend.
Many of the country's music stars, who will come together for a big concert on Monday, and regular people alike are set to pay tribute to their monarch.
TV networks, led by the BBC and ITV, are providing near-wall-to-wall coverage of flotilla parades and other events that are part of what is known here as the Queen's diamond jubilee.
CNN is also among those providing in-depth coverage, led by Piers Morgan who is explaining his home country's customs and traditions to a global audience.
The jubilee weekend is an extended one here as Monday and Tuesday, the actual 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's rise to power, are bank holidays. And it sees many streets and stores in the British capital adorned with the nation's flag, known as the Union Jack.
One of the highlights of the celebrations will be Monday's Diamond Jubilee Concert outside of Buckingham Palace, scheduled to start at 7:30pm local time with musical stars from the past six decades. Among them are Andrew Lloyd Webber, Annie Lennox, Cliff Richard, Tom Jones, Elton John, Take That's Gary Barlow who is a judge on the U.K. version of Simon Cowell's The X Factor and a co-organizer of the concert, Jessie J, Kylie Minogue, Paul McCartney, Shirley Bassey, Stevie Wonder and Will.i.am. They will perform in front of the Queen and other members of the royal family.
ABC is scheduled to air highlights of the concerts on Tuesday.
A ballot alloted tickets for the concert to 10,000 lucky Brits get free tickets to see the concert live. Up to another 500,000 people are expected to come out to catch the music performances via public-viewing screens in St James's Park, Green Park and The Mall. The concert will also be televised live on BBC1 and the public broadcaster's Radio 2.
The BBC averted a strike threat against its diamond jubilee coverage when management and unions reached an agreement for an annual pay deal.
Unions criticized a planned pay increase of only 1 percent, but highlighted other concessions made in negotiations.
"Both sides have accepted that there will be no movement from the current offer of 1 percent this year, but the BBC is committed to ensuring that pay settlements during this licence fee period go some way to reflect the cost of living, as far as these factors allow," the two sides said in a joint statement.