The Chaser's coverage of the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton has been pulled by the Royal Family - details below:
Just two days before Prince William and Kate Middleton are due to tie the knot, ABC TV has been forced to cancel The Chaser's one-off live coverage of the event due to what it says are restrictions imposed by the royal family.
"Our obvious choice for a light-hearted commentary is The Chaser team. Clearly, the BBC and Clarence House have decided The Chaser aren't acceptable."
If The Royal Family or in this case their agents at Clarence House have made restrictions on what can be done with the coverage, then it would seem apparant they that have some degree over the control of that footage including things like TV rights and fees payable.
What I find particularly odd was this comment from The Chaser's producer Julian Morrow:
Morrow says the move goes against free speech.
"It seems a bit crazy for the royal family to be trying to dictate the way they get represented in the media," he said.
It must be said that the ABC is not the originator of the footage but is merely a purchaser of that footage. The originator, in this case The Royal Family and the BBC acting as agents, of course have the rights to decide what happens to that footage.
This sort of thing happens all the time with live broadcasts. For example:
This memorandum reviews the guidelines for allowable use of NFL game film or tape in regularly scheduled news programs, sports wrap-up shows and continuous loop news services. Except as authorized in these Film/Tape Usage Guidelines, there can be no use of NFL game film or tape without NFL Films’ prior authorization.
This also happens with live coverage of Australia's AFL, the NRL, with highlights for the A-League, Formula One broadcasts, the English Premier League, the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA European Championships, the FIFA World cup... etcetera etcetera etcetera...
The fact that the Royal Family reserves the rights as to what may be done with the footage of what is to some degree a family event, is of no surprise to me whatsoever, and Mr Morrow's comments seem rather a bit churlish.
The Chaser by its nature is a progam which has been known to be in bad taste. No doubt they would try to finesse this under the veil of so called satire, but I think it's fairly obvious that from the outset, they'd be making sport of the Royal Family, and so I personally wonder if it is actually satire and not just a character hack fest.
The obvious solution if they wanted to go ahead with the program, would be to tell people to switch off the sound on their televisions and run the show on a short run ABC Digital station. ABC Grandstand 2 gets rebranded all the time as things like ABC Viva, ABC ANZAC, ABC Blues etc...
Not that I'd be watching or listening to their coverage anyway, because quite frankly I'd find the wedding a little dull to watch irrespective of who was taking over the top of the footage.