Diana 1961-1997: The media - Worldwide coverage for the greatest media star of all

Paul McCann on the biggest TV event in history
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The Independent Online
Diana, Princess of Wales was the supreme media creation of the 20th century. Every day of the past 17 years she has been in the media spotlight and so it was fitting, and no surprise, that her funeral was the biggest media event in history.

The worldwide television audience has been estimated at 2.5 billion. The true figure may never be known, but the BBC provided coverage of the funeral to 187 countries yesterday, while ITN supplied another 45. CNN made the pictures available to 210 countries with three start times for different time zones around the globe. The planet was truly covered, and reporters covered London.

Westminster Abbey's media facility registered more than 300 reporters in the day before the funeral. The Foreign Press Association had registered over 500 during the week and the Newspaper Publishers' Association lost count of the hundreds of foreign press it had given accreditation. Countless more technicians, producers and anchormen and women were in London yesterday to cover the funeral.

The Americans were here in the greatest force. The three networks - CBS, ABC and NBC - boosted their London bureaux with almost 200 extra staff and gave the funeral over to their biggest stars: television doyenne Barbara Walters and Peter Jennings for ABC; the New Yorker's Tina Brown for NBC and Dan Rather for CBS. Other, smaller broadcasters had to make do with hiring time in front of the BBC's cameras for their reporters.

Because of the crowds the BBC fixed its 100 cameras - 30 more than for Charles and Diana's wedding - on protective raised blue platforms along the route. Leaving the camera rostrums in the crowds became impossible as numbers grew through the morning. "It was a bloody nightmare trying to move around," said Chris Clark, a reporter with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The cameras fed footage into 12 central mixing desks which then passed pictures to the BBC's huge outside broadcast truck, the Colour Mobile Control Centre. This was hidden behind Westminster Abbey and contained over 20 engineers using 64 screens to mix images for British screens and supply a feed to the satellite transmitters on the Telecom Tower to transmit across the globe.

The BBC is donating all the money it is making from selling pictures of the funeral - along with the money made selling Diana's Panorama interview and Heart of The Matter trip to Angola - to Diana's memorial charity.

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