Trending: A right royal turn off

The weather was atrocious and the TV coverage wasn't much better. Tim Walker gives his verdict on the Jubilee Pageant presenters' most painful moments

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The Independent Culture

Matt & Sophie

"Was it just me, or did the Beeb's coverage of the Jubilee Big Boat Challenge feel like a five-hour episode of The One Show?" So tweeted the Corporation's embittered ex-employee, Jonathan Ross. And BBC1's teatime magazine show did appear to be the model for the day's programming. There was Matt Baker on the sofa, rictus-grinning at Sophie Raworth, their set's picture-window framed by an inexplicably pink rectangle. If Jeremy Clarkson had dropped by and threatened to shoot somebody, it might even have been entertaining.


Most people praised Sky's uncluttered coverage, but its grouchy anchor Eamonn Holmes would have preferred the BBC studio to his leaky canvas canopy. The Northern Irishman began the afternoon with the necessary platitudes about bad weather being all part of the fun, but ended it by whinging incessantly about his soggy back.


Sky's Jubilee team also featured Adam Boulton, Adam Boulton's bright pink jacket and the rolling news channel's resident soft-porn novelist, Kay Burley. Ms Burley accosted a pair of young monarchists on the South Bank. "Are you brother and sister?" she asked. "No," they replied, "we're both brothers." In Kay's defence, the boys were wearing Union Jack perm wigs.


Meanwhile, back on the Beeb, sports commentator Paul Dickenson was still working his way through his Thesaurus. Not a single boat went by without being awarded a hyperbolic adjective: splendid, magnificent, fabulous, majestic. Dickenson briefly became a trending topic, thanks to his repeated assertion that this might be "the BBC's Canaletto Moment". Wishful thinking, I fear.


It all seemed to be going rather well for doughty John Sergeant on Westminster Bridge, listening to Richard E Grant recite Wordsworth. Until Sergeant discussed with BBC weatherperson Carol Kirkwood how it had been similarly damp on the day of the Coronation: "You were around to see the Coronation, weren't you Carol?" No she wasn't, you old rascal. She was born in 1962!


As the Spirit of Chartwell ferried the Queen between the raised halves of Tower Bridge, the BBC cut instead to HMS Belfast, where Fearne Cotton was talking loudly at war veterans. "Cor," she yelled at one of the heroic old buffers, "you got hit by a torpedo, didn't you, and held on to a dead shark!" Remarkably, the story was true.


Was it a beige hydrangea, or roadkill hedgehog? Either way, Tess Daly's fascinator did its job, keeping viewers interested during her all-too-frequent reports from the bandstand in Battersea Park.


It's Anneka Rice! Back from oblivion! And chatting with the aspiring Canalettos who'd painted the scene. But paint and rain proved an unfortunate combination. When one lady revealed her handiwork, transformed by the weather into a Rorschach test, the presenter insisted it was Monet-esque. More like something Mark Rothko might've painted when he was suicidal.