United Kingdom - Australia

Satire of royal wedding censored

Reuters
3 min

Britain’s Royal Family and the BBC have forced an Australian network to censor a satirical take on Friday’s wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, reports say. And there are red faces at Buckingham Palace over some of the names on the guest list.

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National broadcaster ABC had planned to run live satirical commentary by comedy team the Chaser on the wedding.

But the station is to use the BBC’s live feed and, just two days before what promises to be one of the biggest TV events of the decade, new conditions were slapped on stating that it could not be used "in any drama, comedy, satirical or similar entertainment program or content".

The change was apparently made under pressure from Clarence House, the private office of William’s father, Prince Charles.

According to The Australian newspaper, Prince Charles's press secretary demanded that the BBC obtain a written ABC undertaking that the Chaser programme would not go ahead. The BBC reportedly threatened to block the ABC from its entire wedding coverage if it failed to comply, although the corporation denies that it singled out the Australian coverage.

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said the BBC needed to "lighten up".

And ABC said it was upset by the move.

"We're surprised and disappointed at this very late stage to be informed that any satirical or comedic treatment of the marriage of Australia's future head of state has been banned," said TV director Kim Dalton.

The royal wedding guest list has proved a potential source of embarrassment for Britain’s royal family:

  • An invitation to Syrian ambassador Sami Khiyami was withdrawn on Thursday after Foreign Minister William Hague intervened to say that his presence would be “unacceptable” in the light of “this week’s attacks against civilians by Syrian security forces;
  • Rights groups have also criticised invitations to dignitaries from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman, all of whom face anti-government protests;
  • Feminists are unhappy about the presence of King Mswati III of Swaziland because he is polygamous – it is unclear how many of his 13 wives will attend;
  • Former British Labour prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have not been invited, while Conservative Margaret Thatcher cannot attend due to ill health.
     

 

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