Fairy tale romance, televised

TELLY TALK

 ROYAL PEOPLE Prince William and Kate MiddletonThe huge interest that Diana, Princess of Wales, generated across the world is proof enough. Her wedding to Prince Charles was a huge public affair, televised across the world. Nearly a billion people watched. But that was in 1981, and much water has flown under the bridge ever since, including a televised funeral of the princess, who died in a car crash in 1997, again a television affair, with thousands lining up at the funeral with candles, flowers and all.

Today, a good 14 years after her death, another royal wedding is stirring up interest around the world. That of Prince William  and Kate Middleton, who are all set to say ‘I do’, come April 29. It’s no surprise, then, that television channels are falling over each other, airing promos about the royal wedding, and inviting you to book a front-row seat to watch the wedding.

After a long courtship, Kate Middleton and Prince William will finally tie the knot. Television has spared no efforts to show us, often times in the past, about their courtship, interspersed of course, with comparisons to Diana, the prince’s late mother. The bride-to-be, Kate Middleton, herself has been trailed by the paparazzi, with Prince William appealing to the press to “leave his girlfriend alone.” The couple broke up briefly in 2007, with intense press scrutiny thereafter. They got together, though, and leading up to the wedding, the royal family is being watched with awe and curiosity.

For us in India, starting today, lifestyle channel TLC will begin to air special programmes that will lead up to Friday’s wedding. A one-hour special at 9 pm today, titled Royally Astounding: 30 Defining Days of the Monarchy, will kickstart the special programming. There is even a special on Prince Harry apart from a nostalgic programme titled Charles and Di: Once Upon a Time. The wedding itself will be covered live for four hours on the channel. Enough to send the TRPs soaring. It is expected that the wedding will be watched by a massive two billion people across the world on various channels. According to an information website on the British Royals, “Add an expected 400 million for online streaming and radio and the number swells to nearly 35% of the world’s population. An additional 8,00,000 observers likely will crowd outside Buckingham Palace on the day of the event, many of them tweeting and Facebook posting and shooting videos with their phones. It will be a media explosion.”

Talk of coverage of a major British event, and you can’t forget the BBC, which will also cover the royal wedding, live. In keeping with the renewed interest in the monarchy, BBC Entertainment has been airing a special on the monarchy, in an interesting series titled Monarchy: Royal Family at Work. The five-episode special, focussed on the queen’s engagements, her state visit to the United States, her garden party, her role in governance, and finally on her children who talk about how they lend a helping hand in the running of the monarchy.  A well-made series that not only entertains, but also informs, thanks to its crisp production.

While all this will whet your appetite for the royal wedding on Friday, there’s also an interesting Bollywood twist to one of the biggest televised shows on earth.

According to a recent news channel report, choreographers Sandip Soparrkar and Jessie Randhawa will perform at the reception of  Prince William and Kate Middleton. Bollywood, romance, drama and British monarchy — a heady cocktail, indeed. At least one that will send the cash registers at television houses ringing and infuse fresh life into the British economy, too, as some reports indicate. What it does to the couple itself, and what it says about us, as people who love drama in other people’s lives, is debatable; a story for another day.

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