BBC reveals glittering programming for The Queen's Diamond Jubilee

The Diamond Jubilee weekend is set to make the summer of 2012 one of the best ever. I am delighted to be playing my part in the BBC’s comprehensive coverage of the events."Huw Edwards
Date: 17.05.2012     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 18.03
The BBC is to broadcast an unprecedented array of television and radio output for The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee next month. This includes 14 hours of live programming across the Jubilee weekend itself, from 3-5 June.


George Entwistle, Director BBC Vision says: “A series of epic events in 2012 will make this an unprecedented year for the country and for the BBC. Our coverage will aim to bring the whole nation together and deliver all the excitement of having a front row seat for every moment.”

The Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant

A massive four-and-a-half hour broadcast spanning the pageant route and more, the BBC will film the 1000 boats from the UK and the Commonwealth accompanying The Queen along the River Thames.

Unprecedented eight-camera coverage on the specially converted Royal Barge means the BBC will be up close and personal with the Royal Family.

Coverage will be led by Matt Baker and Sophie Raworth from their special studio at the historic former Thames fish market Old Billingsgate, looking right over the river and the climax point of the flotilla at Tower Bridge.

Clare Balding will be aboard the Royal Row Barge The Gloriana, which will lead the rowing section, rowed by 18 oarsmen including ex-servicemen, Olympic Gold Medallists and Thames watermen.

A surprise celebrity guest has been learning the art of bell ringing and will be on board the specially built belfry that will lead the entire flotilla. Its peeling bells will ring out and be answered by churches along the river.

On board the BBC’s exclusive presentation boat, The Zephyr, right at the heart of the Pageant will be Frank Skinner, Griff Rhys Jones, Omid Djalili, Sue Johnston and Sandi Toksvig providing an alternative and amusing reflection on the pageant as it takes place.

Alex Jones and Angela Hartnett will cook up a Jubilee feast aboard the passenger vessel Hollywood.

Sian Williams and the cast of Horrible Histories will be at Tower Bridge reflecting on proceedings.

Angellica Bell will be at one of London’s oldest hospitals, St Thomas’s, meeting Jubilee babies and members of the public who have met The Queen throughout her reign.

Aboard the boat Neeltje Matt Allwright will talk to an ex-naval officer and his wife who live on this converted Dutch barge with their dog Gigi.

Ben Fogle will row a Triple Skiff with some friends and give us an insight into what it’s like to take part in the man-powered section, at the front of the pageant.

John Sergeant will be at Westminster Bridge with John Major, Richard E Grant and others taking a political, literary and satirical look at the Thames’s place in our culture and history. Richard E Grant will read the famous Wordsworth poem On Westminster Bridge.

Anneka Rice will be at the Millennium Bridge with artists capturing the Pageant as it passes, via a number of mediums, and also talking to those who created the Royal Barge.

Any unexpected events will be reported by Chris Hollins from The Constant, the BBC’s dedicated boat that will be one of the only boats that can travel up and down the emergency lane of the flotilla.

Fearne Cotton will report from HMS Belfast where she will be speaking with veteran sailors and will have a bird’s eye view of the climax point of the whole day.

The BBC will also be aboard one of the music boats, the “Symphony”, which has a full symphony orchestra and choir aboard. They will perform the musical finale, being the last boat in the flotilla.

Legendary commentator Paul Dickenson, plus maritime expert Tom Cunliffe will also be commentating on the whole Pageant for BBC One HD.

Diamond Jubilee Concert

The BBC and Gary Barlow are bringing together a galaxy of great musicians from the last 60 years of rock, pop and classical music, on a stunning stage built around The Queen Victoria Memorial, right in front of Buckingham Palace.

Along with The BBC Concert Orchestra, artists taking part include Shirley Bassey, Alfie Boe, Renée Fleming, Jools Holland, Jessie J, JLS, Elton John, Grace Jones, Tom Jones, Lang Lang, Annie Lennox, Madness, Paul McCartney, Kylie Minogue, Cliff Richard, Ed Sheeran, Robbie Williams and Stevie Wonder – all performing their most popular songs. Hosts include Lenny Henry, Miranda Hart, Rob Brydon and Lee Mack.

The concert will be broadcast live on BBC One, BBC One HD and BBC Radio 2 on Monday 4 June and concludes with HM The Queen lightning The National Beacon.

Service of Thanksgiving and Royal Procession

The final day of the Diamond Jubilee weekend, Tuesday 5 June, is a State Occasion and will be marked by a National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, attended by The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh together with other members of the Royal Family.

Commentary from St Paul’s will be provided by James Naughtie. Sophie Raworth will be reporting from St Paul’s; Fiona Bruce will be at the Palace of Westminster; and Chris Hollins and Sonali Shah will be in The Mall. Fearne Cotton and Jake Humphrey will be taking a lighter look at the events of the day; and Clare Balding will be at the Knightsbridge Barracks meeting new trainees of the Household Cavalry who have been learning to ride in time for this historical day.

Following a reception at Mansion House and a Diamond Jubilee lunch in the Palace of Westminster, the route from there to Buckingham Palace will be lined by thousands of well-wishers as The Queen and other senior members of the Royal Family travel in a formal carriage procession. The King’s Troop RHA pays tribute with a 60 gun salute from Horse Guards Parade.

The Royal Family will appear on the balcony to and watch the RAF fly past and a Feu de Joie – a cascade of rifle fire by The Queen’s Guard.

The Service of Thanksgiving, Lunch with the Nation, the Procession, the fly past and the Feu de Joie will be shown live on BBC One and BBC One HD.

The coverage will be anchored by Huw Edwards, who says: “The Diamond Jubilee weekend is set to make the summer of 2012 one of the best ever. I am delighted to be playing my part in the BBC’s comprehensive coverage of the events. Our only goal is to engage and entertain our viewers, who watched the BBC in such massive numbers last year for the Royal Wedding.”

A Jubilee Tribute to The Queen by The Prince of Wales

As part of the Diamond Jubilee weekend, BBC One will broadcast a personal tribute to Her Majesty The Queen by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. In this unique film The Prince will reflect on various public events and private family moments during the 60 years of The Queen’s reign, and will explore previously unseen photographs and cine films from Her Majesty’s private collection – many of them shot by The Queen herself. The filming has taken place at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Balmoral and Highgrove, under the direction of John Bridcut, who worked with The Prince on Charles at 60: The Passionate Prince (BBC One 2008) and The Prince and the Composer (BBC Four, 2011). It is a Crux Production for the BBC.

Rolf Paints… The Diamond Jubilee

In celebration of HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, BBC One’s Rolf Paints… The Diamond Jubilee, sees Rolf Harris with Anneka Rice and a team of 60 inspiring artists as they try to capture 60 years of Royal history on canvas.

Rolf will be throwing open the doors of his specially constructed ‘Pop Up Art School’ to artists of all ages and abilities as, for one day only, they set up easel and pick up their brushes to pay tribute to our Queen.

Joining Rolf is amateur artist Anneka Rice. Not only will she be painting, but she’ll also face a huge challenge; because as soon as the artists put down their brushes she will need to work through the night to transform the venue into a free Pop Up Art Gallery ready for the public to view the paintings over the Jubilee weekend.

How To Paint A Queen – A Culture Show Special

Our galleries abound with paintings of Kings – thrusting, strident displays of dominance, power and the divine right to rule – the royal portrait is a crucial tool of propaganda and control. But painting a queen is a trickier proposition. How do you harness all the powers of the image when your monarch is female? How do you create a portrait of a ruler that meets the exacting criteria for what a respectable woman should be? How can you be passive but dominant? Beautiful but warlike? How do you represent an older woman as a powerful ruler? The world of Queenly portraiture is replete with contradictions.

Through several portraits of Elizabeth II and looking back at images of six previous British queens, Alastair Sooke will examine how artists have tackled these questions over the last 500 years and tell the story of Britain’s changing ideas about women, the monarchy and power. This programme will be shown on BBC Two on Saturday 2 June.

Gary Barlow: On Her Majesty’s Service

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Gary Barlow are working together to compose a special song to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, which will feature artists and contributors from the UK and the Commonwealth.

The result of their collaboration will be performed at the star-studded Diamond Jubilee Concert outside Buckingham Palace on 4 June.

To help create this unique piece of music, Gary has embarked on a journey around the world to discover what The Queen means to the ordinary people of the Commonwealth.

The challenge will be to not only explore the different musical cultures and traditions of these Commonwealth nations, but he will also look at the importance of The Queen to the Commonwealth.

His journey will feature in a documentary for BBC One HD.


Tim Davie, Director of BBC Audio & Music, says: "The Diamond Jubilee promises to be an unforgettable weekend and we are proud to offer listeners across the country the chance to enjoy the celebrations on BBC radio."

BBC Radio 2

On Sunday 3 June Graham Norton and Jeremy Vine will bring the magnificent spectacle of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant to life in 60 Amazing Years. Broadcasting live from The Mermaid Theatre on the embankment of the Thames, the show will offer a nostalgic glance at jubilees past as remembered by listeners, interspersed with music from each of The Queen’s Jubilee years. Nicki Chapman will also be on hand to provide live updates from the Thames.

An array of guests with a regal connection will also be joining Graham and Jeremy to celebrate the event. Imelda Staunton will read a specifically written poem by rising poetry star Mark Niel, and Steve Wright will tell the story of the significance of the Thames and its connection to The Queen. Plus, Tony Blackburn presents a very special Diamond Jubilee Chart, with hits fit for a Queen.

From 5pm on Monday 4 June Breakfast host Chris Evans will present Live from the Palace, interviewing some of the guests lucky enough to get tickets to the Diamond Jubilee Concert and talking to some of the performers involved. Nicki Chapman will also be on hand to provide live updates from the Mall.

From 7.30pm Sir Terry Wogan and Jo Whiley will be on hand to provide full coverage of the concert, which will feature a host of superstars including with The BBC Concert Orchestra, along with Shirley Bassey, Alfie Boe, Renée Fleming, Jools Holland, Jessie J, JLS, Elton John, Grace Jones, Tom Jones, Lang Lang, Annie Lennox, Madness, Paul McCartney, Kylie Minogue, Cliff Richard, Ed Sheeran, Robbie Williams and Stevie Wonder – all performing their most popular songs. Hosts include Lenny Henry, Miranda Hart, Rob Brydon and Lee Mack.

As well as the extensive live coverage of the events, Radio 2’s programming over the two days will offer a variety of perspectives on the weekend’s celebrations.

We Are Sixty, on Sunday (June 3rd), will see actress Celia Imrie present a 90-minute special documentary celebration of The Queen with contributions from friends and admirers.

Additionally, sitting in for Elaine Paige on Sunday, Barbara Windsor will be turning her attentions to the musicals and films of 1952 and the year of the Coronation, 1953, as well as other cinematic moments of a decidedly regal flavour.

BBC Radio 3

Throughout 2012, BBC Radio 3 will broadcast 11 new compositions that have been commissioned especially for the jubilee year. The Choirbook For The Queen is a collection of anthems for Her Majesty’s Jubilee Year and celebrates the great choral tradition in the UK. From Edinburgh to Wells and from Cambridge to Truro, these new anthems sung by cathedral choirs will be given their broadcast premieres throughout 2012 during BBC Radio 3’s live relays of Choral Evensong. There will be further pieces from the Choirbook broadcast at other venues during the year also.

On Tuesday 5th, BBC Radio 3 marks The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with a live broadcast from Bath Abbey with award-winning early music ensemble, I Fagiolini. The group perform as part of the Bath International Festival, a glorious choral concert of pieces of Renaissance and Early Baroque polyphony.

The Early Music Show, presented by Catherine Bott, will look at the state of the early music revival in the 1950s and examine the parallels between the music that accompanied the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II, and that which existed in the ‘golden age’ of English music at the time of Queen Elizabeth I. On BBC Radio 3 on the 3rd of June 2012 at 1pm.

BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4 will broadcast a major new series called The New Elizabethans. On weekdays at 12.45pm from 11 June onwards, writer and broadcaster James Naughtie will profile 60 public figures who have made the greatest impact on the United Kingdom during The Queen’s reign, and whose deeds will stand the test of time.

Earlier this year Radio 4 listeners were invited to suggest people who have defined the past six decades and illuminated the character of the age. A panel of historians will add their own suggestions to this list before debating and deciding on the final list of The New Elizabethans.

Radio 4 will also mark the occasion with a special Book At Bedtime - Jubilee by Shelley Harris. It is 1977, The Queen's Silver Jubilee, and a photographer captures a moment for ever – a street party with bunting and Union Jacks fluttering in the breeze. Right in the centre of the frame, a small Asian boy stares intently into the camera. The photograph becomes iconic, a symbol of everything that is great about Britain. But the harmonious image conceals a very different reality. Fast forward to this year's Diamond Jubilee and Satish has become a highly respected cardiologist. But he has been living with a secret, and when he is asked to take part in a reunion, he has to confront the truth about that day and the events that changed the course of his life.

On 5 June, Radio 4 will broadcast a service of celebration and thanksgiving to mark The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, live from St Paul’s Cathedral, with commentator Nicholas Witchell.

BBC Radio 5 live

Nicky Campbell, Shelagh Fogarty, Aasmah Mir and Richard Bacon will present 5 live’s coverage of the Diamond Jubilee. The network will offer full coverage of all the main events in London and have reporters at celebrations and street parties across the UK.

Overall, 5 live will broadcast over 25 hours of special Jubilee programming over the extended Bank Holiday Weekend.

The weekend starts with the Derby on Saturday 2 June where 5 live will have full commentary on the race attended by The Queen. On Sunday coverage of the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant will be led by Shelagh Fogarty on a barge in the flotilla and Richard Bacon on the banks of the river. Dotun Adebayo will be in Grenada looking at how the Commonwealth is celebrating 60 years of The Queen’s reign.

On Monday, Richard Bacon will be backstage at the Diamond Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace. 5 live Drive’s Aasmah Mir will be with the crowds on the Mall and later in the evening there will be full coverage of the lighting of beacons across the UK. On Tuesday, Nicky Campbell will present 5 live Breakfast from outside St Paul’s Cathedral, followed by the Thanksgiving Service and the final celebrations at Buckingham Palace.

BBC Press Office