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buster1,488 posts since 15 Mar 2006
London London

BBC2 went on its own way at three o'clock for Sunday Grandstand, as you say. I looked this up a while back, the match had already started so they showed highlights and joined it in progress. There wasn't much else in Grandstand that day. The original line-up is here - http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/18e264d2ce284fc096256f2836e45fd1 - and they showed a brief edit of the waterskiing. But not the motorcycling, unsurprisingly.


That's reminded me of that day's Fully Booked turning up on Tuesday morning during the CBBC Breakfast Show slot, which confused me at the time as to how all the guests were available again in Glasgow two days later. It was years later when I found out Fully Booked during the Sunday morning years was pre-recorded on the Friday...
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Brekkie27,032 posts since 4 Jan 2003
HTV Wales Wales Today
One element people have neglected is the effect on the Parliaments of the UK. Effectively they'll all be suspended, legislation put on hold, and await the formal announcement of the succession following the Succession Council's meeting(s), it's not automatic as many seem to think. there's protocols to go through and the formal declaration of the new Sovereign won't be until the next day, or the second one after (if the death occurred late evening or overnight), at 11a.m., we'll then have the swearing in of members and appointment of ministers to go through too. These aspects will take up significant airtime in the first 48 - 96 hours. It's worthwhile looking at the Feb 1952 Hansard record for guidance as to how things will proceed in this respect. All this will be proceeding during an acute period of mourning here and overseas which will need covering too. Broadcasting business as 'normal' could take at least a week to resume, if then.

Different channels would take a different attitude I'm sure. Although ITV would go news heavy for the first couple of days there is probably also a role for shows like This Morning and Loose Women to play during the mourning period which ITN couldn't fulfil.


As you say to there are two stories going on here. Although not the Queen broadcasters and viewers have plenty of experience in dealing with the deaths of major figures. It is the succession which is new territory and I think all major broadcasters will want to be part of recording that moment in history.
Shouldn't that have been posted in the "John Logie Baird has Invented Television" thread?
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Steve Williams1,861 posts since 1 Aug 2008
Obviously The Queen will be of all together different proportion to what we've seen in recent years, but other than that, schedule changes do depend on what is in the schedule in the first place. Even at the BBC I bet decisions are made with one eye on this which they would never admit. Sometimes channels get praised or slammed for the speed they put out extra news bulletins or obituaries, but often it will depend on what was in the schedule in the first place, which leads to inconsistencies. The Doctor Who example is one of these.


I've probably mentioned this before but also in Roger Mosey's book he talks about being contacted by Alison Kirkham, the controller of daytime, when there was news that Saddam Hussain had been captured, saying they were intending to go to rolling news. Mosey said it hadn't been confirmed yet so he wasn't sure if that would be a good idea, but Kirkham said that either way it was a story and it was more interesting than what they were currently showing, so they were doing it.

But it's like when Muhammad Ali died last summer and the Beeb showed the obituary on primetime Saturday night. They may not have done that if he'd died on a Saturday in November when they had Strictly and Match of the Day in the schedule as well. It all depends.

But, of course, what connects all the previous examples is that they weren't The Queen. They won't be thinking about how big the jackpot is in Pointless when she goes, because it's The Queen.

What would Channel 4 do nowadays? They can't do what they did when Diana died, as they no longer air children's programmes.


If they decided not to show the funeral, they have plenty of suitable programming that can be shown instead, not least their large library of family films. They barely had many kids' shows in 1997, and to fill the schedule that morning they had to use more or less every children's programme they'd ever made.

Interesting that there are no clips online of the day John Smith died in 1994, apparently the main schedules were torn apart that day.

One notable change was the comedy drama 'Cardiac Arrest' which was due on after the 9 o clock news. I remember Alexi Sayle's series at the time featured a character called 'John Smith Man' - a not very flattering portrayal of him. Never got repeated, I don't know if the original run had finished at the time


As for the actual announcement, it was a newsflash during Anne & Nick.


Indeed, and they went back to Anne and Nick after the announcement - cos when they launched Anne and Nick they mentioned one of the reasons they were different from This Morning is that they'd handle breaking news - and he had been on the show so they showed clips of that, and had various tributes. The rest of the day was rolling news, of course Parliament was in session that day, with CBBC flung over to BBC2. No different to any other major news story really. In the evening the news was extended to an hour, happily meaning Cardiac Arrest could be cancelled, though I seem to remember everything else got on, including Crimewatch.

Alexei Sayle's series had finished a few weeks earlier, so no major problems. I think it might have been repeated a year or so later but they just edited those bits out. They didn't repeat much of his stuff, though.
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Inspector Sands10,628 posts since 25 Aug 2004
Yes, in fact I looked up that episode of Anne & Nick earlier which is an interesting watch. Quite handily not only did they have an interview with him on tape, their resident doctor was there to give some information about heart attacks.


Not the first time something like that had happened, the resignation of Thatcher was announced during Anne & Nicks predecessor, 'People Today'
Steve Williams1,861 posts since 1 Aug 2008
That's reminded me of that day's Fully Booked turning up on Tuesday morning during the CBBC Breakfast Show slot, which confused me at the time as to how all the guests were available again in Glasgow two days later. It was years later when I found out Fully Booked during the Sunday morning years was pre-recorded on the Friday...


Indeed, I remember flipping around on the Tuesday morning and I was amazed they were showing it, especially because as it was pre-recorded there would have been no reference to it being a Tuesday, so most kids would have been completely baffled as to what was going on. Clearly they didn't want to waste it having filmed it, but it seemed a mad way to go about it.
james-20011,587 posts since 13 Sep 2015
Central (East) East Midlands Today
They barely had many kids' shows in 1997, and to fill the schedule that morning they had to use more or less every children's programme they'd ever made.


They had a fair few the next year when T4 started, during the first 2 or 3 years when they had kids shows as well as teen stuff. I used to watch CatDog and Johnny Bravo on there around 1998/99.

In fact I remember them showing Rocko's Modern Life in a pre-T4 slot in early 2001.
UKnews389 posts since 26 Apr 2011
Just catching up on things here, so responding to a few things that have been discussed.

Without giving the game away, as far as the BBC is concerned, the list of 'Category 1' people is now very short indeed. I seem to remember finding some old documents (possibly pre Diana dying) that had a lot more people on it. Nelson Mandela was - outside of the royal family - about as close as you'd get to a 'Category 1' person. The death of anyone else is simply a major breaking news story.

In terms of whether the news of a royal death would leak out - having been involved in the coverage of a few royal events there is a small group of people who are 'in the know' to a certain extent, but even they can be left relatively uninformed. There was a recent high profile event where the Queen was quite late, even fairly senior people in the media didn't know what was going on. In the end it turned out it was nothing more than her motorcade had been stuck in traffic after there'd been an accident, but there was a worrying time incase it was something more serious. So in the event of a 'predictable' (for want of a better word) passing an embargo would probably hold because the information would be carefully given to select people and as its then filtered down to each group who needs to know they are aware they can't just start tweeting about it. The last time I saw the plans there were ones for a situation with little or no embargo and ones which would be similar to how the Queen Mother's death was announced. I believe in that case there was an embargo - I'm not sure how long it was embargoed for, I don't think it was that long.

The procedures if it is a sudden or unexpected passing where news might not be as 'controlled' are slightly different, but there are still procedures (almost rules) to follow as to who can give authorisation for news to be reported, who / what is considered an 'official' source in the event of a death and what would be done if there was an embargo but others broke it. Whilst social media would mean rumours (and false information) are likely to spread more quickly it means - if anything - there is even more importance on 'trusted' news organisations (especially the BBC) to get it right. When there are 'rehearsals' they tend to involve scenarios that cover both possibilities.
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