In a controversial move, The Chaser’s Royal Wedding Show (scheduled to air live this Friday night on ABC2) has been cancelled by Clarence House in London. The justification is that by airing it, the ABC would be in violation of its broadcast agreement, which forbids use of the wedding telecast in “any drama, comedy, satirical or similar entertainment program or content.”
This is a strange decision, given that Channel 9 will have light-hearted wedding commentary from Dame Edna Everage, and Channel 10 is forming theirs around The Circle and The 7pm Project. In the past, The Goodies have used footage of Prince Charles so he could marry Tim Brooke-Taylor (Craig Platt of The Age tweeted that The Prince was willing to appear in the episode, but the palace wouldn’t allow it). There’s been a Royal Family version of It’s a Knockout, and Prince Charles is well known for his sense of humour. It just seems like it’s The Chaser’s who haven’t made the cut. The last time the Royals flexed their muscles like this down under, we lost a prime minister.
The 11th hour orders were handed down today, and leave The Chasers with filmed material that will likely remain unused. The decision was so recent that the last I heard, Julian Morrow is still scheduled to be interviewed by Laugh Track in the lead-up to the broadcast (I’ll see if I can still make it happen).
In a statement released by the ABC, The Chaser’s Julian Morrow said “The Chaser team accepts that the ABC has been put in an impossible position by people acting on behalf of the Royal Family.
“For a monarchy to be issuing decrees about how the media should cover them seems quite out of keeping with modern democratic times …. but I suppose that’s exactly what the monarchy is.
“It’s traditional for the condemned to appeal to the Monarch for a stay of execution, so that’s what we’re going to do. Unfortunately, it’s also traditional for people who appeal for clemency to be executed.”
You can read the letter The Chaser’s have addressed to Her Majesty, The Queen on their website.