Never has royalty looked better on the small screen – or the commentary sounded worse

Television Review

"Pyjamas off... glad rags on" said the BBC's continuity announcer at 8am, blowing the starting whistle on five-and-a-half hours of monarchical delirium with a sartorial instruction to the people of Britain. I thought this considerably undersold the advantage of the television coverage, myself.

Some people had been camping out on The Mall for days to get an uninterrupted view. But those among us who'd barely been able to muster the energy to go downstairs and press the On button were about to get a far better one and if we wanted to do it in string vest and Y-fronts, nobody was going to be any the wiser.

Because, if there was a headline for the home viewer, as opposed to royalists or constitutional pundits or fashion mavens, it was that this was High Definition's day. Queen Elizabeth's Coronation famously gave a huge push to the take-up of television itself. The Firm's latest exercise in rebranding will surely have done something similar for a technology which placed you almost impertinently close to the principals. Not only did it brilliantly capture the lustre of privilege and the gleam of British pageantry, it gave you the exact texture of Kate's tulle veil, the red welt left across William's forehead by his military cap, the wiry extravagance of the Archbishop of Canterbury's eyebrows.

Never has a royal occasion looked better on the small screen. The soundtrack, on the other hand, followed previous tradition – an almost ceaseless burble of trumped-up momentousness which is the broadcasting equivalent of Styrofoam peanuts – maximum volume and minimal density.

The Royal Family can always be depended upon to induce a 20-point drop in the national IQ and our broadcasters – BBC and ITV alike – are no exception to the rule.

The only consolation for the benignly minded sceptic (who would wish any couple anything other than happiness on such a day?) was to take pleasure in the strange cocktail of absurdity and sincere emotion that resulted. Huw Edwards was the first broadcaster to come over all millennial, introducing Westminster Abbey to us as "this centre of Christian worship for a thousand years", but he didn't hold a monopoly on pomp for long. Even Simon Schama showed a generous willingness to gush about freshness and revival – stirred by the sight of the field maples lining the Abbey's nave. (They represented "modesty and humility" apparently, which is worth remembering next time you want to play things down at a family occasion – just crane eight fully- grown trees into the party venue).

The ceremony itself was like the eye of the storm – a merciful reprieve from commentary and cutaways as the familiar ritual played out to its own stately tempo. There was a little frisson when the bride's brother read a text from Romans – "Do not be haughty. Associate with the lowly" – but otherwise it was calmly and comfortingly predictable.

On either side, though, you got a hurricane of silliness as broadcasters tried to fill the yawning hours. A female astronaut offered good wishes from the International Space Station, charitably guaranteeing that no Earthbound woman was going to have a worse hair day. Boris Johnson gave a shout out to Pam from Moss Bros who'd helped to outfit him and shared his view of the true significance of the day: "In many ways it's a good dry run for the Olympics," he said movingly.

A cavalcade of minibuses trundled along the processional route, briefly wrongfooting republican viewers (do we really need four minibuses full, you thought, but since we've got them can't they at least travel in style?) Every now and then a camera would nerve itself up to risk another quick shot of Princess Anne, wearing a lens-shattering ensemble that appeared to have been tailored from the carpet of a Las Vegas casino. And the television equivalent of Beatrice's hat? Take a bow, Fearne Cotton, once again demonstrating her forensic ability with a follow-up question. "I can't believe I've got this close to the palace," an excitable flag-waver told her. "Can you believe you've got this close to the palace?" Fearne shot back.

Mind like a razor.

Arts and Entertainment
Stewart Lee (Gavin Evans)

comedy

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

music
Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
News
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
Yaphett Kotto with Julius W Harris and Jane Seymour in 1973 Bond movie Live and Let Die

film
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment

film
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

    The secret CIA Starbucks

    The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
    Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

    How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

    The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
    One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

    One million Britons using food banks

    Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

    The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
    Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
    Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

    Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

    They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
    Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
    The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

    The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

    Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
    How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

    How to run a restaurant

    As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
    Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

    Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

    For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
    Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

    Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

    The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
    10 best tote bags

    Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

    We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
    Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

    Paul Scholes column

    I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...