The appearance of Paul Gambaccini, chief suspect in the untimely death of all deceased pop stars, on screens at 1.42 pm marked the official end of the coverage of the funeral of Whitney Houston. The coverage, which began with a brief 63 hour 28 minute service at a small church in Newark (Newark? so good they named it) (broadcast simultaneously on Sky News and the BBC) featuring many guest speakers who had come to regard Whitney Houston as someone they’d met, and was followed up with a streamed webcam from the coffin, was interrupted only briefly when the eulogy by British songstress, Adele, was cut short to allow live coverage of some middle-aged men shouting to tunes you might have recognised from twenty years ago live from a cheese production plant in England’s central England.
The BBC and Sky News both claimed that interminable coverage of something that was of interest to hardly anyone in the country was exactly what people expected from news broadcasters in the UK. A spokesman said,
“People are quite upset when they hear about attacks and stuff in Syria, and frankly haven’t got a clue about the financial turmoil enveloping Greece, so a good funeral with some people you vaguely recognise from other things about America (you know like that bloke that used to be really fat but has lost a lot of weight and now leaves you wondering if it is him or some other person, and him that got the Oscar for that film that seemed interminably long (until you started watching this coverage)) to mark the life of a woman who sang some songs but hadn’t really been of any interest to anyone for a while because she’d gone to waste to be honest, is exactly what the British public want. And did we mention it was cheap? Dirt cheap you know. They were live-streaming it. I’m not even sure that we had to pay anyone for it. And live death coverage is a lot cheaper than paying people to actually you know go and find things out and explain stuff that impacts on us.”
Paul Gambaccini endorsed this view with an anecdote about how he played some songs by pop stars who died only the evening before they died while he phoned round media outlets to make sure they had his number in the event of an accident happening to that pop star the following day and the media outlet wanted to speak to someone about it.