Today, the Queen formally opens the new BBC Broadcasting House in central London. She will tour the newsroom as well as the Radio 1 studio where she will be presented to DJ’s Trevor Nelson and Sara Cox (who in 2000 was upbraided by the BBC for comments about the Queen Mother – they’re clearly very forgiving these royals.)
On the tour, the Queen will also be shown the spanking new BBC newsroom before formally announcing the opening of the building live on Radio 4.
BBC Chairman Lord Patten will also be presenting her with two copies of Radio Times – the first marking her coronation and the second this month’s edition celebrating the 60th anniversary of that august occasion – side by side on one frame. On the back are reproductions of all the front covers she has appeared on.
It’s little wonder, perhaps, that the Royal Family are said to be big Radio Times fans. They are understood to take the magazine regularly and there is a picture somewhere from the archives with a copy sitting on the top of the actual royal (TV) box.
There’s no doubting that the House of Windsor is also a home to telly addicts – but what shows do they actually watch?
According to the Daily Mirror who managed to get a reporter to work as a footman in 2003, dinner was once served late at Windsor Castle because the Queen just had to catch the end of EastEnders.
And many moons ago I was shown a list of shows that the Royal Family were sent by the BBC to watch during their summer hols in Balmoral. Every year, apparently, the royals ask for certain shows with one or two suggestions sneaked in by the BBC.
The list I saw included: Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee, the BBC comedy drama written by Meera Syal as well as detective series Midsomer Murders. The Last Detective and New Tricks.
I also have it on good authority that they get the complete Doctor Who who sent up to Scotland. My sources add that the Queen was always a fan of comedies Keeping Up Appearances and Last of the Summer Wine. And there is compelling evidence that she was a fan of a now sadly defunct ITV copper series, The Bill.
‘I don’t like The Bill but I just can’t help watching it,” the Mirror reported her as saying after its 2003 sting.
But what about more recent shows?
According to X Factor contestant Mary Byrne, the Queen admitted in 2011 that she never misses an episode of the show.
‘You are the lady off The X Factor,” The Constitutional Monarch of sixteen sovereign states and Supreme Governor of the Church of England told Byrne in a meet and greet. “Your song was fabulous’.
Apparently the Queen also told Byrne that aides always recorded the show for her to watch the next day which makes me think that this could have been the work of the slickly oiled X Factor PR machine. The Queen being the Queen she is not the kind of person to deny it.
I am also not sure I entirely believe claims that the queen is as big a fan of Kirsty’s Home Videos as has also been claimed.
It seems quite likely, however, that the royals like a bit of Corrie. The Queen Mother never missed an episode, apparently, and Prince Charles actually turned up on the show.
The late Bill Pertwee MBE swore blind that the Queen told him she loved Dad’s Army and who are we to disbelieve him?
However there is one show the Queen never said to watch: her own TV Christmas broadcasts. But still, she is pretty good at being on the small screen. Word is she always finishes her addresses in one take. There’s professionalism for you.