To mark the 80th anniversary of the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, BBC Parliament will broadcast a series of films recorded on 12 May 1937, which include a complete showing of Pathe’s original Black & White newsreel coverage of the procession and coronation and some rare BBC behind-the-scenes footage. This special programming will conclude with a lecture by Professor Vernon Bogdanor of King’s College London, on George VI and his unexpected role as a King.
BBC’S Coverage Of The Coronation (4’27”)
BBC Parliament broadcasts some rare BBC behind-the-scenes footage shot during the procession to the Abby. Just five months after its launch, the BBC Television Service showed a live outside broadcast of the procession to the Abbey for its small number of television viewers. This was the first major outside broadcast by the BBC and no recording of the live output survives. However, BBC cameras were on hand to record the remarkable achievement behind the scenes.
King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Coronation (51’49”)
For the first time on British television, BBC Parliament broadcasts a complete showing of Pathe’s original Black & White newsreel coverage of the Coronation of HM George VI and Queen Elizabeth in Westminster Abbey on 12 May 1937. This was the first time the coronation service had been filmed. The film shows the processions to and from the Abbey as well as the Coronation Service inside the Abbey itself. Unusually, The King was crowned only five months into his reign as the date had been set for his brother Edward VIII’s coronation, which of course never took place following his abdication in December 1936. As George VI said at the time, “Same date, different king.”
Coronation In Colour (8’03”)
As part of the anniversary programming BBC Parliament broadcasts Pathe’s Dufray-Chromex colour film of the Coronation processions to and from the Westminster Abbey. This brief eight minute film from the earliest days of commercial colour film gave viewers some idea of the brilliance of the Coronation procession. The interior was filmed in black and white only.
George VI Lecture
In a lecture recorded for BBC Parliament, Professor Vernon Bogdanor of King’s College, London, argues George VI was an unexpected monarch. George VI succeeded to the throne, in circumstances quite unparalleled, following the only voluntary abdication in the country’s history. Unprepared for monarchy – he told Lord Mountbatten that he had never even seen a state paper – he nevertheless proved a successful constitutional monarch, helping to secure national cohesion both in peace and in war. At the time of his death in 1952, the prestige of the monarchy was as high as it has ever been, and George VI’s conception of the duties of the sovereign has been a powerful influence on his elder daughter, the Queen.
George VI Coronation: 80 Years Special Presentation airs on Friday 12 May on BBC Parliament.