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LONDON – TV news and music industry stars on Sunday chimed in on the celebrations here tied to Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th anniversary on the throne, while TV viewers discussed the pros and cons of news coverage of the events.
“Happy #Jubilee Your Majesty! No one does it better than Britain. 60 years of service #jubileecnn,” CNN’s Christiane Amanpour said on Twitter.
Her colleague Piers Morgan, who is leading the network’s coverage, mid-day tweeted: “This is brilliant..doubt I’ll ever do anything bigger or better in TV than co-anchor this glorious event to celebrate my Queen.”
Later in the day, he referenced the bad weather that hit London just in time for the long weekend: “Soaking wet, freezing cold, but loving every second,” Morgan said.
And when CNN finished its coverage for the day, he said: “God save our Queen! Wonderful day, hope you enjoyed the coverage.”
Some viewers criticized Morgan for showing off his British roots and talking about his experiences with the Queen too much. “Allow me to sum up CNN’s coverage of the jubilee: Piers Morgan has met the Queen and he’d like us to know that,” one viewer said.
But BBC host Andrew Neil paid him a compliment: “I’m enjoying Piers’ coverage on CNN. He seems to be having fun.”
The day’s jubilee celebrations themselves were anchored by an afternoon fleet parade down the river Thames, led by the Queen. British news organizations highlighted that an estimated 1 million people lined the river banks despite cold and rain. They also took particular joy in the fact that the royal family, including Prince Charles, seemed to enjoy some brief dance moves to classical music at the end of the parade.
“Dancing Royals bring the river pageant to an end,” BBC News tweeted.
Dan Wootton, show business reporter at ITV and a columnist at The Daily Mail, said: “Loving watching the royals have a jubilee jig on the spot. The queen loved that!”
Otherwise, the bad weather earlier in the day meant that a fly-by by helicopters and a plane was cancelled – a rare piece of actual news in the TV coverage that mostly focused on the celebratory spirit in the British capital.
Actor and writer Stephen Fry, who narrates the Harry Potter audio books, was among those who found the BBC coverage a bit bland. “Has the BBC ever presented a more mind-numbingly tedious programme in its history,” he tweeted. “This is eggier and cheesier than a collapsed soufflé. Deeply embarrassing.” He later added: “Everyone’s telling me that Sky’s coverage is better.”
After some criticism from some Twitter followers, he emphasized that he didn’t have a problem with the Queen being celebrated per se. “Just BBC coverage I was having trouble with,” he wrote. “But sorry if my view is upsetting you all. I’ll shut up now.”
Meanwhile, big music industry names started preparing for a big Monday night jubilee concert outside Buckingham Palace.
“Rehearsals at the palace,” Annie Lennox tweeted during a practice session. “Slight pause for the horses to pass by!” She included a photo of British horse guards.
Jessie J told her Twitter followers: “Been working since 8am. Jubilee rehearsaaaallllls!”
Musical star producer Andrew Lloyd Webber later in the day wrote: “Great rehearsal for the Jubilee concert today, and we managed to miss the rain!”
Take That’s Gary Barlow, who is a judge on the U.K. version of The X Factor and a co-producer of the jubilee concert, was the topic of tweets in the early evening. Most came from fans and colleagues looking forward to his hour-long 7:30pm BBC1 special Gary Barlow: On Her Majesty’s Service.
It follows Barlow on his mission to record a special song to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee.
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