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The British monarchy on screen$
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Mandy Merck

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719099564

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719099564.001.0001

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The Queen on the big screen(s): outdoor screens and public congregations

The Queen on the big screen(s): outdoor screens and public congregations

(p.264) 12 The Queen on the big screen(s): outdoor screens and public congregations
The British monarchy on screen

Ruth Adams

Manchester University Press

Although the 1953 Coronation is remembered as a watershed in British television, 3,000 people paid to watch it on a cinema screen at the Royal Festival Hall. At that time cinema was still the dominant news medium, many people did not have access to television, and screens were small and picture quality indifferent. However, even in the current era of media fidelity, diversity and ubiquity, the viewing of royal events on big screens adjacent to the “real” action has not lost its appeal–quite the contrary. An estimated one million people watched the Golden Jubilee concert on screens in the Mall, 90,000 watched the wedding ofWi11iam and Kate in Hyde Park and Trafalgar Square, while many of the millions who lined the River Thames for the Diamond Jubilee Pageant watched the event on the 50 screens along the route. What motivates people to travel to view the action on screens rather than at home? How should we understand such events and the experiences they produce? Are they mediated, or auratic? Are they a means, as Scott Mcquire suggests, of compensating for the fragmentation of community and audience? Are royal events on public screens qualitatively different to sporting or political events transmitted in a similar fashion? Does the content determine the nature of this spectatorship?

Keywords:   Coronation, Television, Royal Festival Hall, Media, Golden Jubilee, William and Kate

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