BBC bosses ‘shunted documentary about King Charles III’s power from broadcast to iPlayer during the Queen’s mourning because they feared disrespecting monarch’s death’, show’s creator claims
- BBC bosses ‘shunted’ a documentary about King Charles from TV to iPlayer
- John Bridcut said Born to be the King was due to air on during Queen’s mourning
- The documentary included interviews with the then Prince Charles, prime ministers, cabinet secretaries, religious leaders, actors and academics
BBC bosses shunted a documentary about King Charles III’s power from broadcast to iPlayer during the Queen’s mourning period because they feared disrespecting monarch’s death, the show’s creator claimed.
John Bridcut said that Born to be the King had been planned to be broadcast on the third day after the death of the Queen on Thursday, September 8.
However executives at the corporation decided on Saturday morning to move the documentary from its broadcast slot to iPlayer, he said.
The package, which included interviews with the then prince, prime ministers, cabinet secretaries, religious leaders, actors and academics was commissioned in 2010.
BBC bosses shunted a documentary about King Charles III’s power from broadcast to iPlayer during the Queen’s mourning period because they feared disrespecting monarch’s death, the show’s creator claimed. Pictured, the then Prince Charles in the documentary
John Bridcut said that Born to be the King had been planned to be broadcast on the third day after the death of the Queen on Thursday, September 8
In the hour-long programme the then Prince Charles said that he would stop ‘meddling’ when he became monarch.
It has been watched by tens of thousands of people via the streaming service, but may have seen millions of viewers had it been broadcast on the television.
Mr Bridcut said that he thought the decision was a ‘miscalculation’ by the BBC.
‘I think they were afraid of being accused of not giving the death of the queen sufficient time and respect,’ he told The Times.
‘They didn’t appreciate sufficiently that sadness over the death of the Queen would be coupled with a feeling of welcome for the new King. Both run in parallel, not one displacing the other.’
It comes as David Dimbleby slammed the BBC’s reluctance to criticise the royal family and says he is surprised by the ‘degree of control’ the Palace has over the corporation.
The former Question Time presenter, 83, has accused the broadcaster of avoiding topics ‘they feel their viewers will not like’ after returning to cover the Queen’s funeral last month.
He also spoke of his surprise over the ‘degree of control that Buckingham Palace has over the image of the royal family’.
This included emails from palace officials on whether specific clips should not be shown during a broadcast live from St George’s Chapel in Windsor, The Times reports.
Mr Bridcut said that he thought the decision to move the documentary to iPlayer only was a ‘miscalculation’ by the BBC. Pictured, the then Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall in the documentary
Mr Bridcut added that in April this year, he was told that a choir singing God Save The King would be the wrong tone for the end of the documentary — coming three days after Her late Majesty’s death.
However the national anthem reinstated after the British public began singing the new version in the wake of the monarch’s death — before the programme was pulled from the broadcast timeslot.
The documentary maker said that he was told by the corporation that it no longer had space on any of its channels for the documentary.
The programme explores Charles’ life campaigning for environmental and social issues, and what Brits might be able to expect from the new monarch.
It included commentary from actress Dame Judi Dench, playwright Sir Tom Stoppard and former prime ministers Sir Tony Blair and David Cameron, among others.
Former cabinet secretary Lord Wilson of Dinton said that Charles would write him letters on policy issues when prince, adding that as monarch he would ‘be able to ensure he gets across his own views’.
In a 2018 interview shown in the documentary, then Prince Charles said that he wouldn’t be ‘stupid’ to ‘meddle’ when he becomes King, adding: ‘I do realise it’s a separate exercise being sovereign.’
A spokesperson for the BBC told The Times that Born to be the King was ‘prominently displayed’ in iPlayer’s ‘featured rail’, and is still available to watch.
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