Peter Coleman: ‘Billions’ share a love letter to Elizabeth

Sep 20, 2022 at 04:44 pm by admin

In the end it was a no-brainer. To stay awake until two in the morning to see the celebration of a lifetime like no other, touching the lives of billions of people.

Many more perhaps, than had been expected, in an outpouring of admiration and respect described by The Australian’s Cameron Stewart as “a love letter of human beings”.

And yes, I “made do” with the unprecedented TV coverage, as I had been privileged to do in 1953, when the early wonder of television had made it possible for my parents, sister and I to watch the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Yesterday’s funeral was beamed around the world with little thought about the technology involved – ultra-long lenses, data transmission, BVOD and vision automation come to mind, for a start – and the “billions” mentioned as audience may not be an overestimate. Some 4.1 billion is an early estimate including 3.897 million in Australia.

What hasn’t changed is the need for journalism and – in the case of TV – presenters, and UK national broadcaster the BBC had David Dimbleby, as it had had his father for the coronation and the funeral of George VI in 1952.

Thus it was that Australia’s Nine provided three teams – one for each key location – but with an embarrassing lapse when one couple was unable to identify British prime minister Liz Truss until prompted.

Hard to believe Seven apparently “won the night”, ahead of Nine, the ABC, and Ten’s Bold channel, all of which had live coverage. No mention of Sky, though I noted it was their branding below the footage Nine was broadcasting as I turned in for the night at about 2.15am. The dollars were also with Seven, which led key 16-39 and 18-49 advertising demographics, while Nine got the 25-54s.

Talking of which, I thought this EDM from The Australian – filename getflashqueenpromo – offering a six-month streaming subscription free to new and returning customers last Wednesday, five days after the Queen’s death – in questionable taste… but maybe I’m old-fashioned.

Good to see printed newspapers selling strongly today, as indeed souvenir magazine editions will as soon as they are on sale. Much has changed in the Elizabethan era, and writing a note for a report about Australian magazine and catalalogue printer Ive Group – roots of which go back to 1921, five years before the late queen was born – I was reminded again of this. In the third Carolean age, the only certainty remains that the rate of change will never be as slow as it is today.


Meanwhile, here’s a picture of a younger Queen Elizabeth beamed this week by Eurotunnel onto the “white cliffs of Dover”, the same ones of which Vera Lynn –subtle note to the Archbishop of Canterbury – sang in ‘We’ll meet again’.

Peter Coleman

Sections: Columns & opinion


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