Weaver's Week 2022-09-11

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Game show fan dies

The death of Elizabeth W, a perceptive television viewer from Windsor, aged 96.

Born in 1926, when the BBC was still the British Broadcasting Company, Elizabeth was almost two years older than Bruce Forsyth. Both would have long and distinguished careers in their chosen field. Elizabeth made an early appearance on Children's Hour, sharing her thoughts on being separated from family during the war.

Bruce Forsyth Television legends meet.

Elizabeth was a fan of quality television. She visited the Crackerjack studios in November 1960, and told host Eamonn Andrews that her children Charles and Anne watched the show and enjoyed it. The children were awarded television's highest honour at the time, a Crackerjack pencil set.

Crackerjack Eamonn Andrews (centre) presides over more mayhem.

Just over forty years later, Elizabeth returned to the BBC, now at Television Centre. This time, she visited the Blue Peter studio, and was personally awarded television's highest honour, a Gold Badge. Elizabeth returned the favour in 2008, hosting a party for Blue Peter viewers and presenters on the show's fiftieth anniversary.

Terry Wogan Terry Wogan, a favourite broadcaster.

Not all of her favourite programmes were game shows. The Kumars at Number 42 hit a funnybone, everybody loves Doctor Who and Terry Wogan, she was old enough to point out the historical goofs in Downton Abbey, and enjoyed Midsomer Murders.

Elizabeth watched The X Factor in 2010, the imperial year with One Direction, Rebecca Ferguson, Cher Lloyd, and winner Matt Cardle. Mary Byrne was praised for a particularly "fabulous" song.

Didn't brush her teeth with this, though.

She was also subjected to performances by winners of Britain's Got Talent, however dire they were. Simon Cowell said of extreme metal hardware punk band Hydrangeas 'N' Cutlassies, "I can't imagine a granny enjoying this!". Then he chose to inflict yet another dreary cod-opera singer on her, and by extension the viewing millions. Elizabeth had the last laugh, her single "The oath" was an unexpected top-five seller last June.

Britain's Got Talent Stand up for a good singer.

Elizabeth made regular, but infrequent, appearances on television, always leaving her audience wanting a bit more. She'd give a pep talk every Christmas Day afternoon, suggesting that everyone would be happy if we all tried to be a bit nicer to each other. Elizabeth also appeared in comedy skits – appearing to jump out of a helicopter at a sports day in 2012, sharing marmalade sandwiches with Paddington Bear earlier this year.

It's a Knockout Applause because they've got through it.

Not every show met Elizabeth's exacting standards. In 1987, her younger children Anne, Andrew, and Edward – along with Andrew's wife Sarah – organised a special edition of It's a Knockout with some of their chums. While the show gave lots of publicity for good causes, and raised a decent amount of money, Elizabeth thought it was horribly crass. The show hasn't been staged again – and because it's packed full of criminals and ne'er-do-wells, isn't going to be repeated.

Richard Whiteley Richard Whiteley.

Although her prime passion was for horse racing, Elizabeth was interested in the other programmes around it. In the last century, Channel 4's Countdown usually followed the afternoon races, and Elizabeth enjoyed Richard Whiteley's friendly bonhomie.

Pointless The modern faces of friendly banter, Armstrong and Osman.

As an avid viewer of the news, Elizabeth also watched some of the programmes before it, and picked up on a pleasant atmosphere from Xander and Richard on Pointless. Coach Trip also got her seal of approval, host Brendan Sheerin found that she had it set on her PVR.

Elizabeth Windsor died on Thursday, aged 96. She was pre-deceased by her husband Philip, and survived by four children, and various grand- and great-grandchildren.

Elizabeth's death has dominated television schedules. Discussion has concentrated on her position as head of state, and her job as queen. Broadcast schedules for the next week are going to be unpredictable, and this column will return when the time is right.

Pictures: NPO / NOS / BVN, BBC, Syco / ITV Studios, BBC / Knockout Productions, Remarkable Television, France Télévisions / TV5.

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