With pork pie and coronation chicken sandwich prices being slashed by supermarkets up and down the land and every self-respecting pub landlord adorning his establishment from chimney to foundations with union flags, one could be forgiven for thinking this Friday’s royal wedding is to be a universally celebrated event.
A glance at the television schedules over the coming days will leave you feeling similarly red, white and blue as the channels find new and creative ways of repackaging the same library photo of Kate in that dress and interviewing the man who runs the sub-post office in her home village of Bucklebury.
But wait; according to the latest ICM poll, one in four people think the country would be better off without the royal family. How are these good, law-abiding and licence fee-paying republican television viewers to get through this time without their common noses being rubbed in the dirt by royalist schedulers?
Never fear, there is a way. So draw your curtains, unplug the phone and gorge with me on a veritable smorgasbord of quality television without a tiara in sight.
OK, so there are 15 reds, a white and a blue ball involved, which, if imaginatively scattered, might accidentally create a Jackson Pollock-esque union flag on the green baize, but despite its Knees Up Mother Brown heritage, there’s nothing inherently royalist about snooker.
The World Championships continue from 7:00pm on BBC2 tonight and provide ample distraction this week, monopolising the channel’s output and the red button for those wishing to avoid royal contamination.
On BBC1 at 9:00pm, viewers can expect slightly more than a cucumber sandwich and bowl of Monster Munch as John Torode and Gregg Wallace finally tie up this year’s run of culinary reboot MasterChef. There might not be a street party in the winner’s home town, but someone will be going home with a small trophy… surely something for the whole nation to celebrate?
Football fans can go to Spain (sort of) to avoid any potential pageantry tonight as the Champions League clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona is on ITV1 from 7:30pm.
Those looking for something a little more offbeat might enjoy Essex Jungle on Channel 5 at 8:00pm, a show that celebrates some of the most bizarre pets from Harlow to Harwich, and beyond.
One of the most important comedy writers of his time, John Sullivan, creator of Only Fools and Horses and Citizen Smith, died last weekend. Tonight at 9:00pm BBC1 screens the third part of Rock & Chips, a prequel to Sullivan’s most famous work that follows Del Boy Trotter in his early years. Here’s a chance to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of a TV legend that transcended constitutional affairs.
Over on BBC2 at 9:00pm, Sir Bobby Charlton: Football Icon explores the fascinating life of one of the nation’s most celebrated players.
And if documentaries are your bag, set the Sky+ because also at 9:00pm, BBC4 are showing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – the True Story, a profile of the life of L Frank Baum, the man who wrote an American fairy tale that trumps any royal wedding.
If you’re still looking for distraction, why not enjoy the conclusion of More4’s bold sitcom, The Big C, at 11:00pm or tune in to the controversial drama about one of America’s most unlucky dynasties in The Kennedys on History at 9:00pm.
Right, today’s going to be tough. If you survive 29 April unscathed by royal coverage you’re going to have done very well.
Obviously, avoid all rolling news channels for the day and news bulletins on all channels. Next, make sure you don’t tune in to BBC1 or ITV1 at any time before 4:00pm, and even after that, approach with extreme caution. Remember, even soap operas and topical chat shows will reference the big day.
ITV2 are showing 12 back-to-back episodes of The Only Way Is Essex from 8:10am to 5:00pm, which will certainly keep you busy thinking about Lauren and Mark rather than William and Kate until the majority of the confetti has blown away.
Alternatively, More4 are screening Paul Newman and Robert Redford’s comedy western classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid at 11:25am and Watch are broadcasting eight back-to-back episodes of Christopher Eccleston in Doctor Who from 10:00am.
There’s the usual selection of US imports and moving house programmes on Channel 4 and an afternoon of World Snooker available on BBC2.
BBC1 takes a break from eight hours of solid wedding coverage at 4:05pm to show something for the whole family, Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death. ITV1 opts for fantasy adventure Nanny McPhee at the same time.
BBC2 is the safest place to be in the evening on the terrestrial channels for Monty Don’s Italian Gardens at 9:00pm and, as long as you’re careful not to catch the end of Corrie’s street party, you can safely watch Baboons with Bill Bailey on ITV1 at 8:00pm.
However, if you prefer to live life a little more dangerously, why not tap up BBC3 from 7:45pm for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom before switching to Film4 for cult classic Withnail & I at 11:10pm, followed by LA Confidential, which begins at the preposterously late time of 1:15am…now that’s what I call a night of telly.
Congratulations, you have avoided the royal wedding…see you again soon when we do the same for Harry and Chelsy’s big day.