Wednesday, April 17, 2013

And then she was gone...


Imagine Spitting Image colliding with All Our Yesterdays and you are transported to the nave of St Paul's Cathedral at nine o'clock this morning.

On real TV the coffin carrying the body of the woman you loved to love - or loved to hate - was beginning its final journey. On unreal TV, Jeremy Kyle was about to tell Michelle who her real dad was.

The almost, but not quite, state funeral of Margaret Thatcher was always going to be a TV event and the BBC disinterred one of the Dimbleby's, who have been burying the nation's famous for decades, to give her a proper send off.

This time, it was David D's turn to host the event on behalf of the broadcaster Mrs T held in contempt through much of her life. Dutifully attired in dark suit and black tie he took on funereal tones as he talked through the opening scenes of the event about to unfold.

And the tone seemed more than appropriate to a rapidly assembling list of the great and good many of whom must have been as surprised as the viewer to have made to to the occasion.

David tried to keep the surprise out of his voice as he spotted some of the infamous faces children used to be frightened with in the early 80's. Snow had clearly been sprinkled liberally on their heads but that apparently was the remains of Geoffrey Howe and Norman Lamont and Nigel Lawson and Tom King and the rest of the Thatcher cabinet "vegetables" she happily insulted and ignored during her time in power.

There too, Norman Tebbit, still alive and still kicking and, talking of which, Michael Heseltine who half the congregation would surely have banned in a free vote.

Over on ITV, with the coffin now transferred to the gun-carriage and with Michelle knowing who her dad was, it was clearly time to get more serious and Phil and Holly from This Morning were drafted in.

Both had chosen to wear black for the occasion although Phil was without a tie and can only hope no-one from the Daily Mail was watching. Having introduced their viewers to the coffin they wisely abandoned proceedings to the more mellifluous Alistair Stewart who knew who he was talking about. Sir John Major had already greyed his way in followed by the now apparently irrelevant figure of Tony Blair.

Back at the BBC DD had grabbed DC, the Prime Minister, on his way into church and proceeded to smirk his way into a question about opinion polls. What did the PM think about polls which showed if Mrs T was still in charge of the Tories they would be way ahead of Labour asked his inquisitor. David Cameron replied with the look of a man who was taking down Dimbleby's name and number for future reference.

With Mrs T now passing Starbucks at the bottom of Fleet Street, the Queen herself arrived to be met by the new Lord Mayor of London who almost decapitated the sovereign with a six foot sword he apparently has to carry in front of her at all times.

With HM in her seat Mrs T was gingerly marched up the steps of St Paul's and into place for the ceremony.

The Bishop of London said she was a lot nicer than some people thought.