My heartfelt thanks this morning go to ITV who decided not to cover “The Funeral” but instead to continue with their normal scheduling, largely ignoring the event.
Daybreak, Lorraine and This Morning all featured interviews with commentators and friends of the former Prime Minster, and cut away to the scene at St Paul’s Cathedral every now and again. However, from 9.30 to 10.30 ITV was broadcasting The Jeremy Kyle Show, a controversial talkshow dedicated to sordid, embarrassing family dramas.
As the BBC showed David Dimbleby interviewing Conservative grandees and political veterans, and Sky News showed scenes from inside the cathedral, ITV broadcast a shouting match between two girls and a man who was trying to deny that he was their father.
And while grandees filed into St Paul’s and Lady Thatcher’s coffin was driven to the cathedral, a young woman told the studio audience that she was trying to work out who her real father was.
Then at 10.30 This Morning was hosted as usual by Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby – neither known for their political acumen but with a nod to the main event they were both dressed demurely in black. As the coffin was taken into the cathedral, This Morning ran a feature on dangerous criminals – apparently ignoring the start of the funeral. They also interviewed the victim of an arson attack in a Leicester gay bar from October 2011 and then Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans joined Schofield and Willoughby on the show, discussing his own career. The pair also interviewed a writer who said that seeing his wife give birth gave him post-traumatic stress order, and interrogated him on his love life
However, the BBC and Sky News each set aside hours of programming dedicated to the service so there was plenty of opportunity for those who did want to watch and I personally think it is a little unfair for people to criticise ITV for giving people a choice to not watch if they didn’t want to.