Leak betrays queen's speech with a difference: David Lister examines a Christmas message for the nation that has made Channel 4 executives launch an inquiry
A founder member of The Independent David Lister joined the paper in 1986 as Assistant Home Editor. He became the paper's arts correspondent in 1988 and is now Arts Editor and writes a column each Saturday. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Thursday 23 December 1993
Following the leak to the Sun of the Queen's Christmas message last year, media anxiety was heightening that the government might strengthen press sanctions in its forthcoming White Paper.
When news of the leak broke at 5pm, senior executives at Channel 4 were fetched from their lunches at various restaurants in Charlotte Street, central London
The Alternative Queen's Speech to be delivered on Channel 4 on Christmas Day by the gay writer and humourist Quentin Crisp is couched in diplomatic terms but has a vicious subtextual attack on young people and women. It ends with a call on all Britons to emigrate to the United States.
One insider at Channel 4 said the Christmas spirit had been utterly destroyed. Party games involving golden handcuffs had been cancelled, and the culprit when found would be seconded to promoting the channel's season on Polish cinema.
Michael Grade, Channel 4's chief executive, commented tersely: 'I've ordered an immediate inquiry into how an advance copy of the speech left the building. When we commissioned Quentin Crisp's broadcast to match the style and transmission time of the Queen's speech, the last thing we foresaw copying was last year's security lapse.'
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