Who gives a right-royal tosser?

MEDIA:

If a nation full of Poms was turned off by saturation coverage of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, why on earth should Australian media outlets have followed suit to the embarrassingly nauseating level they have?

Channel 9 Sydney’s main 6pm news last night devoted close to its first 30 minutes to the life and times of Prince Philip and returned to the story after the sport, running segments not much different to what had come before.

Some 14,000km away, the BBC and ITV were sloughing off viewers with their saturation coverage of the life of this self-confessed cranky old bastard.

Overnight ratings saw ITV’s Friday night audience decline by 60 per cent over the previous week. BBC One suffered a similar loss of average viewers. Both had jettisoned popular programs to run nonstop coverage of the death.

Channel 4 broadcast the highest-rated show of the evening, Gogglebox with 4.2m viewers, after largely sticking to its pre-announced schedule despite Prince Philip’s demise.

The Bug‘s dedicated staff in its mezzanine-level research hubs found that a decade ago, Australians born in England, Scotland and Ireland amounted for less than 40 per cent of our population.

It’s likely a lot of those Irish and Scottish folk care little for the monarchy and that percentage would surely have shrunk more over the past decade.

So why did Australian news editors feel the need to go the full royal court press on the passing of the Prince?

Was it some variant of the old “if it bleeds it leads” rule? If it’s royal blood, it floods the bulletin?

Can I be a contrarian for a moment? As a bloke almost the same age as the royal marriage lasted, I never saw Prince Philip as anything much more than a racist, self-opinionated, privileged, pompous and curmudgeonly 99-year-old prick whose only real claim to fame was where he put that prick of his.

Too soon? Too harsh?

And what’s with all this editorialising about his “wit”, as Channel 7 claimed.

I drew the short straw at The Bug office and had to watch this vomitous tribute, hoping to see some evidence of the Iron Duke’s sharp wit. Well, I’m still waiting.

As mentioned above, I can honestly say in watching this bloke from afar for five-plus decades, I’ve never heard him say anything that would give you a legitimate chuckle for its humour value alone and not its gaffidity, a new word I’ve just invented.

No-one doubts he could charm the pantyhose off those around him and he was a tall, handsome, devil with a winning smile. But legitimately and naturally funny that you’d die to be at a dinner table with him and One?

And what is it with all these flowery words to describe one of, supposedly, the greatest love stories in human history involving One.

In the Sun-Herald alone this morning we had talk of the “grieving” monarch. Around the world, Queen Elizabeth is “shattered” and “bereft”. She could very well be but who would really know?

Her Majesty might just as easily be doing heel clicks along the corridors of Winsor Castle right now. Well, heel clicks befitting her 94 years. I’m assuming cartwheels would now be beyond One.

And for what we’ve known about Phil the Greek for a very long time, a dainty heel-click or two would be a thoroughly warranted thing for One to do.

Don Gordon-Brown