The BBC’s Director General has admitted that there were “Lessons to Learn” from the Jubilee Coverage, as he was grilled by MPs this week. Presumably the most important lesson was that there’s a time and place for Fearne Cotton.
After more than 4,000 complaints were lodged concerning the BBC’s performance over the four day celebrations, Thompson said that there were “some inaccuracies in the commentary that we shouldn’t have had”, but refused to comment on the now infamous Fearne Cotton/Paloma Faith “Jubilee Sickbag” feature.
Thompson would “not talk about individual elements”, despite repeated questions from MPs, including Committee Chairman and MP for Maldon John Whittingdale asking him; “Did you not wince over the Fearne Cotton sick bags?”
Thompson explained the background of the much criticised river pageant coverage, blaming technical difficulties resulting from the rain..
“We lost most of our cameras for a period on the boats and some of our cameras on dry land as well, and that meant in the middle of the coverage we were spending a bit less time on the river covering the event and a bit more time away from the river than we would have liked.”
The Beeb’s big man also admitted that there were “innaccuaries” made in the commentary, however he asserted that it was “one or two – not many but one or two…which we shouldn’t have had”.
Saying that criticising the BBC’s coverage of Royal events is a “national ritual”, Thompson was quick to point out that audience approval ratings for the Jubilee was high, with a verdict of around 8/10, but ultimately conceding that “as with any programme, I’m sure the team can go away and learn some of the lessons.”
With his tenure as Director-General coming to an end later this year, Thompson must be hoping that the Olympic Coverage won’t have us vomiting up our official London 2012 Big Macs into our Seb Coe sick bags.