Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher will be laid to rest in a televised funeral service expected to be watched by millions around the world. In accordance with her wishes, the entire service and broadcast was put out to competitive tender, creating the UK’s first privatised ceremonial funeral.
The funeral will take place at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, as expected. However, this was by no means guaranteed and was confirmed only once the Corporation of London, underwritten by the banking industry, fought off very competitive bids from Holy Trinity Brompton and the O2 Arena.
The Funeral Service
It was expected that either the Bishop of London or Archbishop of Canterbury would officiate at the service. However, the tendering process enabled “any appropriate person” to undertake this task (as defined by Culture Secretary Maria Miller). The result was that Jeremy Clarkson will lead the nation in mourning using a liturgy based largely on Top Gear’s ‘star in a reasonably priced car’ feature. Lady Thatcher will be borne to the service in a United Parcel Services van with G4S providing the guard of honour. Guests will be provided with service booklets printed by the Daily Mail featuring a trademark scaremongering headline “Cremation of Former World Leaders Linked to Cancer and Falling House Prices”.
Unfortunately for lovers of Anglican choral music, the choir of St Paul’s was unsuccessful in the tendering process and so Gary Barlow will perform a new version of Candle in the Wind (Goodbye Iron Thorn) by Sir Elton John. The service will also feature a solo by Cher who will appear at her own expense in order to convince her fans she is still alive following confusion among her US fans on Twitter upon seeing the hashtag #nowthatchersdead and reading it as Now that Cher’s dead.
Lady Thatcher was most keen that the BBC should not automatically win the broadcast rights and would have been delighted to learn that the shopping channel QVC won the UK broadcast rights. They intend to run a ticker-tape at the bottom of the screen throughout their live broadcast selling memorabilia. In the US, Fox News has secured the broadcast rights and intends to use Louise Mensch and Sarah Palin as anchors, in order to tell US viewers about this pivotal character in the stories of the rise of Louise Mensch and Sarah Palin.
The most surprising result of the tendering process is that David Cameron will not give the eulogy. It was expected that the current Prime Minister would use his personal wealth to secure a worldwide audience for his tribute to Baroness Thatcher. However, he was outbid by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg who is expected to use the sermon slot to launch his much-anticipated Facebook Afterlife social network for the deceased.
As Clarkson will undoubtedly say during the service: “And on that bombshell, it’s goodnight to Baroness Thatcher.”