Did you watch BBC Children in Need on Friday night? No, me neither. I avoid it on medical grounds: I have a very low hilarity threshold. Seeing some bunch of no-mark celebrities I have never heard of put on drag to perform some famous pop song that I have also never heard of might just be the side-split which tips me over the edge. It’s the same with those people who dress up in bear costumes and accost you in shopping precincts: I might just have to attack the next one I see, purely in self-defence.
It seems to me that what BBC Children in Need lacks is gravitas. Gravitas and dignity. Gravitas and dignity, as exemplified by Archduke Stephen, Palatine of Hungary (1817–1867):
You wouldn’t catch Archduke Stephen dressing up like Freddie Mercury—uncanny resemblance notwithstanding—to make a dreadful spoof video of the Queen classic Lady O’Gaga. You wouldn’t catch the Palatine of Hungary wearing a pirate costume and demanding money with menace and a bucket outside Aldi—no matter how worthy the cause. No. Archduke Stephen would have had none of that nonsense: he was far too busy governing Bohemia.
If you want my opinion, I think it’s way beyond time that the BBC put that yellow bear out to stud and went up-market. Up the Auntie, so to speak. It seems to me that they could do far worse than adopt Archduke Stephen as a role model. It’s time the British public rediscovered dignitas. Dignitas and gravity.