It was a pretty spectacular event. An estimated television audience of 2 Billion viewers worldwide, with 1 million gathering along the route to see Prince William marry Catherine Middleton – and in the process becoming the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge. It was an excercise proving you cannot over-organise a public gathering: The arrivals of the guests, including the Royal Family, timed to the minute; the service short, respectful and without hitch; the security present but not overt and certainly doing their job.

In case you missed it (WHERE WERE YOU?!) or if you just have a really short attention span, Britain’s Channel 4 have offered you an edited highlights package, so that you at least get the highlights…

Here is Australia, we tuned in by the millions. Seriously – SO many people watched it wasn’t funny. Here’s some raw stats for the night. The channel shares and the Top 25 programs for the night (remembering the Chaser weren’t allowed to play)…

Primetime shares, total people
ABC1 = 18.3%
Seven = 29.8%
Nine = 22.7%
Ten = 7.5%
SBS1 = 2.7%

ABC2 = 1.6%
ABC3 = 0.4%
ABC News 24 = 0.4%
7TWO = 8.0%
7mate = 1.9%
GO! = 2.4%
Gem = 1.7%
One = 0.5%
Eleven = 1.6%
SBS2 = 0.5%

That’s some very, very large viewing audience numbers. To make some fair comparison, these are the numbers watching the WEDDING ONLY for the evening:

7 Network (Ch7 + 7Two) = 2,186,000
9 Network (Ch9 + GEM) = 1,466,000
ABC1 = 1,100,000
Channel 10 = 349,000

(Fitzy, Wippa & Lucy not that entertaining in the end, were they Lachlan?)

All networks took the same mixed BBC/ITV/Sky broadcast, but it’s what it did with it that made all the difference.

Channel 7 played it very straight and respectful. Matthew White and Chris Bath anchored around the UK’s ITV commentary, meaning they didn’t have to pretend to know everyone who was at the wedding. Ch7 included the very lovely Melissa Hoyer (best dressed of the Aussie hosts on the night) and some pre-taped “colour” from Kathy Lette & Monique Wright, adding some diversity to their coverage but it was all about the happy couple. In Melbourne and Adelaide they left the Friday night AFL game on the primary channel and flipped the wedding onto 7Two (Ch7’s standard definition digital multichannel, and thus the combined total), and in other markets played the AFL game on 7mate live and delayed on the primary channel. On the whole, not a whole lot of work from the Ch7 crew in London but effective. 4 balcony kisses out of five.

Channel 9 opted to work their crew hard. Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson hosted the entire program, along with Dame Edna Everage and Crusty Royal Watcher #5. Colour added from Ita Buttrose & Tracy Grimshaw throughout the night. For Sydney & Brisbane viewers, the telecast of the NRL was delayed until 8:30pm (mid-ceremony!) and the rest of the broadcast was found on GEM (Ch9’s high definition digital multi-channel). The commentary was a little dry, although made all the more entertaining by an increasingly “tired and emotional” Karl & Dame Edna. Lisa had the hardest job in Australian broadcasting trying to keep those two on track and appropriate. Dame Edna couldn’t resist a discussion of Lisa’s fawn hat and red dress she wore fore the coverage… about 2 hours too late for twitter (it had already imploded over it). The change at such a critical time in the coverage and the Aussie talent (though endearing) didn’t help Ch9 really get the cut-through it would have wanted, given the expense to stage it. 2 and a half Princess Beatrice’s Hats out of five.

ABC1 played it very straight. A direct rebroadcast of the BBC commentary. Royalists and purists alike will have clapped gently between cucumber sandwiches. 4 Queen’s Carriages out of five.

Channel 10 Didn’t even have the excuse of the footy getting in the way. I guess they figured early “no one will watch us, let attempt to have some fun with this”. At least that’s the hope I cling to, as if what they broadcast was a serious attempt at programming, James Warburton cannot take over quick enough. Hell, the after party of the Wedding Circle beat their Wedding broadcast (The Wedding Circle was a lot of fun). It was one giant footy trip with Lucy McDonald trying desperately to remain on topic. Hamish Macdonald did a good job in his anchoring around the lunacy. 1 Pippa’s visible panty line out of five.

What did you enjoy about the wedding broadcast? Who did you watch, and why? Tell us all by leaving a comment!

As a completely off beat personal highlight, enjoy this Verger who decided to celebrate the day after just about everyone had left Westminster Abbey…