Friday, 28 December 2007

Her Majesty's Christmas Broadcast to the Commonwealth, and How to Survive it

This year, we did not watch The Queen's Christmas Broadcast to the Commonwealth at 3pm on Christmas Day.

We did not watch The Queen's Christmas Broadcast.

My family has a long and turbulent history of watching The Queen's Christmas Broadcast. As we are more or less equally divided between laissez-faire monarchists and those with republican sympathies, the 3pm post-turkey-fest TV had previously resembled something of a fault line, running through an
otherwise harmonious and stress-free day, threatening to expose fundamental divisions in ideologies, which it inevitably succeeded in doing.

Recently, we had overcome this problem, with the invention of Queen's Speech Bingo.

Not Valid for Queen's Speech Bingo

I will give a brief overview of the rules here:

  1. Each person declares their intention to play or not to play;
  2. Those playing individually write a list of topics which they believe Queenie will cover in her monologue;
  3. No conferring;
  4. All players watch Her Majesty's Address;
  5. During the broadcast, players must cheer if one of their listed topics is mentioned, and must boo if Queen Liz is talking on a matter not on their lists;
  6. Players keep track of which items on their list have been mentioned;
  7. Following the conclusion of the Address, players score their predictions as follows: One point for each topic on their list which Lillibet spoke about; Minus one point for each item on their list which was not mentioned;
  8. Players declare their scores and must make their lists available to all other players for scrutiny;
  9. Once a winner has been declared, they may nominate any Christmas attendee (regardless of status as family, friend or hanger-on) to perform The Ceremony of The Christmas Dinner Washing Up*.

It is a wonderful, wonderful game. It finally enabled the whole family to sit together with shared fuzziness of mind to join in a harmless game to decide the washing up.

It was a wonderful, wonderful game, before there were snippets of The Address appearing on news programmes prior to the event, mainly because it's fifty years since this thing was first broadcast on the tellybox, and Her Maj is now making the whole thing available on YouTube. All our careful work in formulating a mechanism through which the entire family could watch The Queen's Address to the Nation without having an argument (other than over trivial matters such as scoring) have now come to nought. I blame the advance of technology.

This year, we did not watch The Queen's Christmas Broadcast.


*Note that regardless of the nominee, this task generally falls to the person least inebriated and most able to contend safely with post-dinner hazards including 15lb of left-overs and sharp knives, and who has a working knowledge of dishwasher usage.


Wayfarer Scientista said...

rats! they took all the fun out of it!

Casdok said...

They take the fun out of everything :(

DJ Kirkby said...

I am sure that if you let the royals know that they had spoiled the best game ever, they would immediatly make the nessesary changes to recify the potential for any further damage!

trousers said...

Hahah, Queen's Speech Bingo: what a marvellous phrase, it did actually make me laugh out loud (I cannot bear to bring myself to write LOL these days).

This year's problems notwithstanding, your admirable management of divided loyalties (if not Royalties) would surely serve as a model for, say, Northern Ireland, the various conflicts in the Middle East and so on.

Territorial/political/sectarian dispute? Bingo!

But Why? said...

They did indeed. Damn them. (The news programmes which insisted on trailing the broadcast, I mean. Not the Royal Family. No-one could possibly have thought I would say such things about them...)

I must beg to differ. Her Majesty and her clan have for years been providing the nation with an enduring soap opera, which (unlike its competitors such as Eastenders, Neighbours, Brookside, Hollyoaks, etc.) you only have to tune into on an annual basis to understand the conversations people are having about them. This role aside, I concur wholeheartedly.

Hurrah! Off with the heads of the people at the BBC Television Centre who insist on playing the most juicy morsels from the speech on the news. Yes, I shall write immediately to The Queen to let her know what her naughty subjects in the BBC are up to. (Do you it'll make me worthy of being a late addition to the New Year's Honours List?)

Do you know, I think you may have hit upon something there. Perhaps I should consider a career change and go into diplomacy?

On second thoughts, and as a post-script, I feel I should report that I am notoriously bad at this game, with my personal best score being a less than creditable -2. Perhaps I should leave the playing of the bingo to those better qualified? The Pensioners of the Nation, perhaps...

Pixie said...

Wonderful post, almost made me nostalgic for the days when we had to watch it.... almost , but not quite!
pix x

But Why? said...

Happy New Year! I have to say, I did feel a little guilty to stand watch over the death of a small piece of family tradition. Truth be told, I was actually quite looking forward to the game... xx