Who was all the talk about, ahead of the BBC’s ‘The Coronation Concert’ on Sunday, the culmination of the weekend’s royal celebrations? was not Multiple A-listers (Adele, Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles and others) have reportedly declined official invitations and are wary of tying their brand to what feels like Britain’s longest-running soap opera and is now repeatedly scattering followers. The distasteful plot now seems understandable. As we faced the haphazardly assembled ensemble of the concert tonight, we were probably only a few rejections away from witnessing the Duke of York slapping the tray with a spoon.
Hopes that the evening would prove a London Olympics-style victory over adversity quickly faded. If those two hours reminded me of anything, it wasn’t Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony that channeled Williams Blake, Morris and Shakespeare, but the forgotten closing ceremony with the eggy scent of Simons Cowell and Fuller. There was obvious relief as the Coronation Day showers had subsided, yet the clouds parted, revealing that a lot of money had indeed been spent on very fine collections. “The excitement is definitely growing here,” insisted backstage reporter Clara Amfo, who sped past the police battalion on its way to interview Olly Murs.
Conceptually, this was an important event. 20,000 people – charity volunteers, NHS staff and public ticket lottery winners – were invited to join the royal family on the Windsor Castle grounds below a scene resembling a giant HG Wells tripod. Pausing between dad jokes, MC Hugh Bonneville assured us that 100 countries around the world were watching. still true Take thispromotion is over Katy Perry In the headline area, the result was eerily narrow-minded, indistinguishable in content from the halftime interval of a Saturday night talent show. you half expected to find King Charles and Queen Camilla sitting in swivel chairs behind lighted bells.
Splashing pomp and ceremony abounded: a 200-strong orchestra, large crane shots, a changing light show illuminating Union Jacks and Windsor Castle in every hand. (No sign of Queen’s Brian May, however, so faithful to previous royal blackmails, that on Channel 4’s expert royal satire “The Windsors” – the final Coronation Special – the guitarist is in permanent residence among the squirrels in Buckingham. The roof of the palace.) Importing the tried-and-tested entertainers “Roar” and “Firework,” Perry stared at her role in a draped gold dress resembling a Disney truffle wrapper. (If the UK experiences a foil shortage in the coming weeks, it will be part Brexit, part Perry.)
Yet, despite Tom Cruise’s high-profile flight—inviting the king to become a wingman—most of the show felt trivial and memorable. Scene changes “Did you know…?” Episodes where random celebrities tell conceptually fun (but largely familiar) Charles facts: green credentials, children’s books, watercolors. Even before Prince William took the stage to pay tribute to his father, the underlying message was clear: Charles is great. Wildlife host Hamza Yassin even revealed that the king has a frog named after him: “What a handsome man!” The frog looked no more or less handsome than the other frogs.
More assertive interactions tended to fail. A sequence that supposedly featured the “Commonwealth Choir” (Steve Winwood performing Zoomed-in karaoke on the permanent song “Higher Love”) wasn’t fully translated to the screen. And, of course, you’re not hiring Lang Lang to accompany Nicole Scherzinger in one of “Mulan’s” boring ballads. Even better was the collaboration between the Royal Ballet, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal College of Art, with the new Doctor Who Ncuti Gatwa in the role of Romeo and Juliet alongside Mei Mac.
You clung to such petty mercies and fleeting moments of old-fashioned show business rivalry. An Andrea Bocelli/Bryn Terfel duet introduced at least the singers for whom the king publicly expressed his love. (Even if “You’ll Never Walk Alone” sounds like a rebuke to the Liverpool football fans who booed the National Anthem this weekend.) And with a lively “All Night Long” Lionel Richie once again showed he knows how to hold up. in the palm of the audience. In short, the concert felt like a party at the Royal Box with weird dances. The Queen sneaks a glance at her watch. We were within 45 minutes.
However, most did not proceed with any greater rhyme or logic than James Nesbitt’s reciprocal poem “Please welcome to Paloma Faith.” Who needed Adele? This was culture as a replaceable primetime pabulum; three minutes per piece for actions to impress new judges and increase sales. Great for them of course. Not so reassuring for any public facing an ongoing cost of living crisis and swaying art cuts that are only liable to close the drawbridge. As an example of the turmoil the Windsors now find themselves in, the concert was unrivaled. But if I were a new monarch trying to rebrand the royal family, pointless extravagance wouldn’t be my opening gamble.
The Coronation Concert is now streaming on BBC iPlayer.
Producing: BBC Events.
(Picture: Get This)