The BBC – the British state broadcaster famed for costume dramas and covering national events with dignity and a stiff upper-lip – is caught up in an escalating row over the quality of its Jubilee coverage.
The main focus of criticism has been the ‘informal’ style of the coverage of the jubilee riverboat pageant on Sunday, and many viewers were also irritated by the fact that after the jubilee concert on Monday night, the BBC hastily brought proceedings to a close after the concert ended, running production credits over the fireworks and terminating the transmission before the fireworks had finished.
The corporation has received over 2,500 complaints over its coverage, which viewers felt was excessively fluffy, with one section where presenter Fearne Cotton discussed a Jubilee-themed sickbag being singled out for criticism.
Former Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer told the Today programme the BBC was "worried and nervous" about appearing too formal.
He said: "I don't think this is going to be the BBC's Bafta Award winning entry next year but all that went wrong was a very conscious attempt, I think, to make the whole event informal and, to use the modern idiom, inclusive and warm and the BBC just probably tried too hard to do it."
Meanwhile, adding to the criticism were composers who were invited by the BBC to take part in its jubilee broadcast, but were then given just a few seconds' coverage.
British poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy wrote an eight-verse poem, Common Wealth, which was put to music by the composer Orlando Gough, one of 13 compositions by 13 composers played on three of the 10 so-called music herald barges that took part.
However, the BBC only gave eight seconds' coverage to Gough's orchestration to music of bagpipes, drums and a choir without even a mention of what it was.
"They obliterated it with some fatuous piece of commentary about something else," Gough told the Guardian. "I am incensed. It was extraordinary – so much work went into this, we spent hours and hours clearing the rights and negotiating fees and it was reduced to this. It is very, very frustrating, especially when the rest of the coverage was absolutely inane."
Gavin Greenaway, who composed a five-minute piece inspired by Handel's Water Music – which was not heard at all – said: "We feel very let down. I said to my family, far better to watch it on TV as the quality will be better – and there was nothing."