David Dimbleby ‘turned down chance to present King Charles’s Coronation for the BBC because he didn’t want to play second fiddle’ – as corporation announces Kirsty Young and Huw Edwards will lead its coverage

  • He reportedly passed on covering the Coronation to not play ‘second fiddle’ 
  • Line-up also include Sophie Raworth, Clare Balding, JJ Chalmers and Anita Rani

David Dimbleby turned down the chance to present King Charles’s Coronation for the BBC because he did not want to ‘play second fiddle’, it was claimed last night – after the corporation announced that Kirsty Young and Huw Edwards will lead its coverage.

Dimbleby, who was not named in the presenting line-up announced by the BBC, has been a prominent figure in the broadcaster’s political and royal coverage for many years and he came out of retirement last September to cover the Queen’s funeral procession.

The veteran passed on covering the King’s Coronation for the BBC as he didn’t want to play ‘second fiddle’ in the line-up, an insider told the Times

Instead, Kirsty Young and Huw Edwards will be among the presenters leading the BBC’s coverage of the King’s Coronation. The corporation’s line-up for the spectacular event in May will also include Sophie Raworth, Clare Balding, JJ Chalmers and Anita Rani.

The corporation’s director-general Tim Davie said the broadcaster would be ‘delivering the full glory’ of the event.

Dimbleby’s apparent decision to turn down the opportunity seems to indicate the end of his relationship with the BBC in covering royal events, a link to his father Richard who covered the funeral of George VI in 1952 and Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation the year after. 

It comes after Dimbleby blasted the BBC’s ‘reluctance to criticise the royal family’ last year.

Dimbleby, 84, who was not named in the presenting line-up announced by the BBC, has been a prominent figure in the corporation’s political and royal coverage for many years

Young, 54, will be based in a studio at Buckingham Palace on the day and will also front the next day's special live broadcast of the coronation concert in the grounds of Windsor Castle

Young, 54, will be based in a studio at Buckingham Palace on the day and will also front the next day’s special live broadcast of the coronation concert in the grounds of Windsor Castle

Edwards, 61, who was praised for his handling of the announcement of the Queen's death, will provide commentary at Westminster Abbey

Edwards, 61, who was praised for his handling of the announcement of the Queen’s death, will provide commentary at Westminster Abbey

The Coronation coverage on May 6 will include the build-up to the Westminster Abbey service, the ceremony, the return procession to Buckingham Palace and the King’s balcony appearance.

Young, 54, will be based in a studio at Buckingham Palace on the day and will also front the next day’s special live broadcast of the coronation concert in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Edwards, 61, who was praised for his handling of the announcement of the Queen’s death, will provide commentary at Westminster Abbey.

Former Desert Island Discs presenter Young said: ‘I’m very happy indeed to be part of the BBC’s coronation coverage, as our cameras capture history in the making.

The Coronation coverage on May 6 will include the build-up to the Westminster Abbey service, the ceremony, the return procession to Buckingham Palace and the King's balcony appearance

The Coronation coverage on May 6 will include the build-up to the Westminster Abbey service, the ceremony, the return procession to Buckingham Palace and the King’s balcony appearance

Edwards added: ‘People will be relying on the BBC for coverage of what promises to be a memorable weekend.’ 

For the concert there will be a 300-strong Coronation Choir, made up of performers from different backgrounds including Gaelic speakers, an all-deaf sign performance group and refugee singers. It will also include Northern Irish farmers and London cabbies.

Radio 2’s Zoe Ball and Dermot O’Leary and Radio 4’s Martha Kearney will also be among those presenting the weekend’s coronation coverage on radio.

Along with other dedicated programming there will also be coronation specials of EastEnders, Countryfile, Antiques Roadshow, Songs Of Praise and Bargain Hunt.

Tim Davie said: ‘We will be delivering the full glory of the coronation with all the quality, ambition and excellence that our teams are globally renowned for.’



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