The Queens Diamond Jubilee Celebrations


Following our work with BBC Events in 2011 on the Royal Wedding, MRL Safety were asked back by the BBC to manage safety across their Diamond Jubilee coverage in May and June this year. The project shared some similar elements to the Wedding coverage, in that it involved hundreds of TV cameras and associated infrastructure across dozens of locations in London, but this time was for 3 days – The River Pageant, the Jubilee Concert and the Jubilee Procession – as well as a spectacular star studded concert in one of the most famous and iconic locations in the world, the Queen Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace.

Operations Director Jools Bentley lead the project, working closely with the BBC Events team and Robbie Williams Productions, who managed the concert production for the BBC.

“it was one of the most demanding projects I’ve ever worked” on said Jools; “as well as dealing with all the broadcast infrastructure, we had to deliver an amazing show in one of the most difficult locations you could think of”. As well as accommodating the Changing of the Queens Guard on a daily basis, the production team had to manage the thousands of tourists flocking through the site to view one of London’s traditional attractions. An army of security and stewards and a hard pressed traffic management team coped with it admirably however and there were no delays or interruptions in the busy ceremonial schedule, as can be seen from the images below:

The television coverage included dealing with over 200 camera positions for the River Pageant and Ceremonial Procession, many of them in sensitive or iconic locations, with all the negotiating, documentation and visits that such a process requires. Whilst the centrepiece of the celebrations, the concert, was on the face of it, relatively straightforward, the location, calibre of performers and of course, the significant audience members brought their own challenges. The team built a uniquely designed stage on the QVM memorial and installed over 12,000 grandstand seats on the flower beds opposite the Palace to facilitate the show.

“We really couldn’t have delivered this concert without the huge support we received from the Royal Parks team and The Palace, along with Westminster City Council and the other agencies involved in the planning stages” said Jools. “it was a hugely ambitious project and the BBC wanted to ensure that the event properly befitted the occasion, not only for Her Majesty and the attending audience lucky enough to get tickets, but also for the millions of people watching live on TV around the world. I consider it a real privilege to have been asked to work on this project, it was a fantastic team that the BBC and RWP pulled together and this gave me a lot of confidence that we would be able to deliver. I would like to thank everyone involved for all their help, which made my job so much easier”.

MRL Safety deployed its largest team seen out on a single event for this project, as well as Jools, MRL Safety had 5 other safety advisors and controllers working in various roles on the events across London; this was in addition to the team working in Hyde Park on the Sainsburys Family Day and Jubilee facilitation over the same period. Managing Director Judy Jackson said “these few days really were a challenge, but having staff who you can totally rely on is paramount to such a successful event”.

“there are so many good memories and highlights for me” said Jools “but the one that really stands out must be when we were on the Palace roof with Madness, getting them prepared and set up amongst all the fireworks and pyro infrastructure and all of us thinking about where we started in the industry and that it probably doesn’t get much bigger than this”.

You can see some highlights of the concert here and here

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