Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Those Radio Times: The Queen's Diamond Jubilee

The Queen takes to the cover of the Radio
in 1972 as the BBC celebrates
its 60 years
Retrospace didn't want The Diamond Jubilee celebration to pass by without some sort of small tribute to Her Majesty the Queen.

The fabulous BBC coverage of events such as Sunday's Pageant and last nights Jubilee concert are the latest in a wide variety of programmes that her subjects the Royal Family’s subjects have been able to enjoy for nearly 90 years.

The first reigning monarch to be heard on radio was King George V whose speech was heard on 23 April 1924 when he opened the British Empire Exhibition in Wembley.

King George first spoke directly to his subjects on Christmas Day, 1932 when he delivered his message for The Commonwealth on the wireless.

Exactly 25 years later a shift in technology and the passage of time saw his granddaughter delivering her first Christmas message on television.

The producer of that broadcast, Antony Craxton paid tribute to Her Majesty the Queen to the Radio Times in 1972 when interviewed for a feature on the TV series Heritage: “We were all nervous and I’m sure the Queen would admit not unnaturally, to have been a little apprehensive. But with several hours’ rehearsal, she worked tremendously hard and consequently the broadcast was a success. Since then the Queen’s confidence has grown and with each succeeding year the warmth of her personality has become more evident.”

The BBC's own Diamond Jubilee in 1982
celebrated with a supplement recalling several
Radio Times covers including the Queen's
Coronation and her Silver Jubilee.
In fact Her Majesty the Queen’s presence on television and radio has always been a personal one with her subjects. In my lifetime I have only succeeded in catching a glimpse of her and the Duke of Edinburgh once as her car passed through the crowds of Stockton High Street during the Silver Jubilee in 1977.

A couple of weeks ago The Royal Train stopped outside my workplace,  the South Wales Argus office briefly on its way to Cardiff, the curtains were drawn so there was no sight of her Majesty.

But as the Argus staff looked on in awe I couldn’t help but feel a tiny comparison of Arthur Lowe as Captain Mainwaring vainly searching for the King as the Walmington-on-Sea platoon expected the arrival of the Royal Train in a classic episode of Dad’s Army.

However TV cameras have given us our own relationship with The Queen in the last 60 years. A relationship that has allowed us to share state events from the comfort of our living room, allow her to speak directly to us at Christmas or even follow her and other Royal Family members around the world via documentaries and news bulletins.

No other monarch has enjoyed such exposure with her subjects as Queen Elizabeth II or indeed reigned over a period of time thus far in history that has allowed so many to get to her personally through television and radio. It makes you think how much history has been forged in technology over the last sixty years and how we’ve all been a huge part of it.

Happy birthday Ma’am!

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