King Charles’ school days remembered by former classmate
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The BBC removed a documentary focused on how King Charles III would wield power during his reign from its schedule over fears it would be accused of not giving “sufficient time and respect” to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the film’s creator has claimed. John Bridcut crafted the documentary titled Born To Be The King, which features interviews with Prime Ministers, Cabinet secretaries and leading celebrities.
Commissioned by the publicly-funded broadcaster in 2010, the documentary had reportedly long been planned to be aired on the third day after the death of the Queen.
However, on September 10, executives at the BBC decided against giving Bridcut’s documentary a primetime slot on one of their channels as planned but, rather, to show it on iPlayer, its online on-demand service, The Times wrote.
Mr Bridcut, who has made numerous films about Royal Family members including Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70 featuring interviews with Prince Harry, Prince William, Queen Camilla and the then-Prince of Wales himself, said he thought this move by the broadcaster’s executive had been a “miscalculation”.
He told the newspaper: “I think they were afraid of being accused of not giving the death of the Queen sufficient time and respect.
“They didn’t appreciate sufficiently that sadness over the death of the Queen would be coupled with a feeling of welcome for the new King. Both run in parallel, not one displacing the other.”
He added the decision to pull the film appears to have been made soon after the corporation had agreed to reinstate a clip at its end featuring a choir singing God Save The King.
The filmmaker said he had been told in April playing the anthem with the world King rather than Queen so soon after the death of Her Majesty would be considered not “tonally appropriate”.
Reality showed that, immediately after the death of the record-breaking sovereign, God Save the King had been publicly sung several times, something that may have convinced the BBC to add back the anthem in the film.
Mr Bridcut said he understood the need for fluid schedules after the death of the monarch, but added: “Here we are in two months in and as far as I am aware they have not done a programme at all about who is this new King and what can we expect.
“People [in the documentary] were willing to talk about it and were not shy of saying it is hard to see how after a lifetime involvement in social and environmental issues he is going to give up completely.”
The film includes interviews with, among others, Judi Dench, Tom Stoppard, Tony Blair and David Cameron.
Baron Wilson of Dinton, the former Cabinet secretary, also appears in the documentary and speaks about receiving many letters from the then-Prince of Wales on policy issues close to his heart.
He added that, as monarch, Charles would “be able to ensure he gets across his own views” before policy is formulated.
The film also features an interview with the new King already broadcasted as part of the 2018 documentary Charles at 70.
The then heir to the throne was asked at the time whether he planned to reign as King in the same interventionist way he operated as Prince of Wales, which prompted his pointed reply: “I’m not that stupid. I do realise that it is a separate exercise being sovereign. So, of course, I understand entirely how that should operate.
“The idea somehow that I’m going to go on in exactly the same way, if I have to succeed, is complete nonsense. Because the two situations are completely different.”
A BBC spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “Following the death of Queen Elizabeth and the accession of King Charles, the BBC made a broad range of special content available across the BBC, including on iPlayer.
“This includes ‘Born to be The King’ which was prominently displayed in the ‘featured rail’ and is still available to watch.”
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