I haven’t been watching any of the Royal Wedding lead-up coverage

Instead I have turned the TV off and watched some DVDs instead, and propose to continue to do so.

However, I did watch The Queen in Australia (1954) again. Such a wonderful time capsule of the Australia of 1954 when I turned 11. I will watch the wedding itself, if only because I do like Westminster Abbey pomp and circumstance – and I do like Prince William.



I wouldn’t have bothered with the smart-arse version of the wedding on ABC-2 anyway, or with any of the commercial channels, but it seems we now have something to beat our breasts over:

Just two days before Prince William and Kate Middleton are due to tie the knot, ABC TV has been forced to cancel The Chaser’s one-off live coverage of the event due to what it says are restrictions imposed by the royal family. The Chaser’s Royal Wedding Commentary was due to air on ABC2 from 7:00pm AEST on Friday, offering viewers a satirical take on the royal wedding. But now the live special – promised to be "uninformed and unconstitutional" – has been reluctantly pulled due to restrictions imposed over the Easter break.

ABC TV was initially advised by the BBC, and subsequently by Associated Press Television News (APTN), there were no coverage restrictions that would prevent The Chaser’s wedding commentary.

But new conditions of use issued by APTN over the Easter break state footage cannot be used "in any drama, comedy, satirical or similar entertainment program or content".

ABC TV director Kim Dalton says he is disappointed…

The Chaser’s Julian Morrow says the team accepts the ABC has been put in an "impossible position by people acting on behalf of the royal family". "For a monarchy to be issuing decrees about how the media should cover them seems quite out of keeping with modern democratic times… but I suppose that’s exactly what the monarchy is," he said. "It’s traditional for the condemned to appeal to the monarch for a stay of execution, so that’s what we’re going to do. Unfortunately it’s also traditional for people who appeal for clemency to be executed."

Morrow says the move goes against free speech.

"It seems a bit crazy for the royal family to be trying to dictate the way they get represented in the media," he said. "It seems a bit out of step with a modern democracy, but I suppose royalty is out of step with a modern democracy, so there you go."…

I really am considerably less outraged, though no doubt the freedom to exhibit bad taste and terminal smugness is worth sticking up for… On either side I suppose.

Honestly in my old age I am finding it harder to discern just what essential freedom has ever been denied me by the fact we have a shared head of state who lives somewhere else. I even include the sacking of Whitlam in that – after all, we did get to vote. And Malcolm Fraser is these days on the left of Julia Gillard!


Compare Jim Belshaw’s Monarchy, republics & the royal wedding.