The trouble with writing columns a few days in advance is that I'm basically the last journalist to say "Royal Wedding, rah rah rah." But here goes anyway. Ahem. Royal wedding! Rah rah rah! The love, the smiles, the laughter, the beautiful, shiny hair. And the TELLY. Sometimes we need events like this to remind us of two things 1) we are capable, as a nation, of producing spectacularly bad telly. And 2) we are even more capable of watching it.
So now we can look forward to nine months of the sort of programming that makes T4 Movie Specials look insightful and well-informed. Programmes that take one basic, three-second fact and eek it out into an hour of televisual fluff* by inviting people who may have been in the same room as the happy couple, once, to speculate on what they may, or may not, be thinking or planning.
"Having been seen on numerous occasions wearing dresses, the bride may well choose to sport one for the big day," Jenni Bond will ponder. "The couple enjoy food, as proved by this one blurry photo of them eating chips in a St Andrews bus shelter," TV chef James Martin will say. "Maybe there will be chips at the wedding breakfast!" Maybe.
My favourite news nugget so far has been that the stag do, to be arranged in ominous fashion by Prince Harry, will be held "in either Gloucestershire or Botswana." I imagine this was in a similar style to my 16th birthday party, which was going to be held in either Worthing, or Kuala Lumpur. In the end it was held in Worthing.
But it seems to me that there's one big televisual trick everyone is missing. We don't want polite, carefully-lit interviews where they guffaw over how droll each other is. We want to see a wailing bride puffing on a fag and blowing her nose on a bit of tulle petticoat. We want to see a groom whose idea of a romantic reception is hiring three bikini-clad Vegas dancers and a blackjack table. I want to see a beautiful, catastrophic collision between the royal wedding and BBC Three's Don't Tell The Bride.
For the uninitiated among you, this is the genius concept: a couple love each other very very much and want to be joined together in holy matrimony, but what with her fake tan budget and his new hubcaps, they can't afford it. So generous Auntie Beeb gives them £12,000 to spend on the big day – but on the condition that every single thing is picked and planned by the groom.
Each episode is always full of shots where you can practically feel the director off-camera, rubbing his hands with glee. "I don't care which colour he picks for the bridesmaid's dresses, as long as it isn't orange," says Bride. Cut to shot of groom in bridal shop saying "Hmm, orange. I reckon she'd love that, I do." You get the idea.
Is there any aspect of the royal wedding that would not be more glorious in this format? I'd even concede to them stretching the budget slightly – 15 grand, say – if it meant we could watch Katie trying on a dress three sizes too big that Wills got on sale in TK Maxx after spending half his budget on the Botswanan stag do. We could watch Camilla and Carol go head to head after financial restrictions mean that the Middletons have to watch the ceremony on a big screen outside a barn conversion.
And at the end, when the happy couple are swaying gently to Take That's Rule the World as Harry necks a bridesmaid in a hay bale, we'll all believe it's true love. "You done me proud, babe," she'll hiccup. "You done me proud."
*I like to call this phenomenon 'the X-Factor Results Show approach'.
Knock knock knocked up
2 weeks ago