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Friday, 12 July, 2002, 17:50 GMT 18:50 UK
Jubilee tour diary: Yorkshire mix
The BBC's arts and media correspondent Nick Higham is following the Queen on her Jubilee tour of the UK.

This is the 14th in a series of dispatches from around the country.

Thursday 11 July

They know how to push the boat out in Yorkshire.

The West Riding, as it used to be called, has laid on one of the most flamboyant days in the Queen's Jubilee tour of the UK: a shrewd mix of popular culture and pomp, public spectacle and family reunion - the whole shot through with constant reminders of what Yorkshire has given the world.

The day starts with the royal train's arrival at Leeds railway station, newly revamped at a cost of £245m.

At Leeds Civic Hall the Queen meets leaders of the local financial services industry - crucial to the city's efforts to reinvent itself and its economy now that manufacturing industry has largely disappeared.

And she is presented with a golden model of an owl, the city's symbol.

Queen on Emmerdale set
Slightly bewildered as the Emmerdale Post Office blows up

But things really start to go with a bang around the middle of the morning, when she is taken to see the set of the ITV soap Emmerdale, built in the grounds of Harewood House a few miles north of Leeds.

Emmerdale used to be filmed in a real village.

But in 1998 Yorkshire Television, which make it, decided to build a permanent set of stone-clad timber-framed houses.

Today they have decided to blow up the post office, not for the sake of the plot but just to show they can.


The Queen looks slightly surprised at the television special effects people's party piece and remarks on how loud the bang was.

"I'm glad there was no-one standing there," she says (perhaps no-one has told her that, in the world of television make-believe, the post office can be reconstructed in little more than an hour).

Emmerdale is no stranger to violent catastrophe.

In 1993 half the cast were wiped out when a plane crashed on the village. More died the following year when a hostage-taking at the post office ended in a police shoot-out.

Lord Harewood
Lord Harewood landed a cheeky kiss

As the longest-serving member of the cast, Stan Richards, who plays retired gamekeeper Seth Armstrong, put it: "We have more crime and tragedy in this fiction village than in Los Angeles and San Francisco put together."

Then it is on to Harewood House itself, where she is welcomed with a kiss on the cheek by her host, Lord Harewood.

He is allowed to do that because he is the Queen's first cousin and 33rd in line to the throne - his mother, Princess Mary (the Princess Royal) was George VI's sister.

A surprise guest at lunch in the magnificent 18th century house (improved in the 1840s by Charles Barry, the architect of the Houses of Parliament) is Terry Venables: no Yorkshireman, it's true, but scheduled to become a local hero as the newly-appointed manager of Leeds United.

He is there because Lord Harewood, a one-time director of the Edinburgh Festival and of English National Opera, combines a passion for music and opera with a passion for football and has been United's president for 30 years or more.

Terry Venables
El Tel meets ER

Introduced to the Queen before the lunch, Venables gets the biggest cheer outside the house later that afternoon when he makes a surprise appearance in a pageant celebrating Yorkshire achievements and Yorkshire people.

Presented by Dewsbury-born Betty Boothroyd, once Speaker of the House of Commons but now a baroness, it features local celebrities like Countdown presenter Richard Whiteley, former Spice Girl Mel B and veteran Yorkshire cricketers like Fred Trueman and Brian Close - plus the Leeds West Indian Carnival, the Huddersfield Choral Society and more than 50 veterans of the Korean War.

The soprano Lesley Garrett - known in these parts as the Doncaster Diva and another Harewood protégé, ever since he "discovered" her when at ENO - sings I Could Have Danced All Night from My Fair Lady.

It is all watched by the Queen herself and by 2,500 garden party guests invited by West Yorkshire's seven local authorities (and sponsored by one of the county's biggest financial services companies, the Halifax).


The event ends with the York-born actor Mark Addy, star of The Full Monty, declaiming the "happy breed of men" speech from Shakespeare's Richard II while clinging precariously to one of Harewood's chimneys.

The Queen sits inscrutably throughout.

She must long since have given up being amazed at the extraordinary mix of entertainment often mounted for her benefit.

If she thinks this a rather bizarre mish-mash she is too polite to show it.

Instead she mounts the steps to the house's front door to give a short speech of thanks, in which she praises the people of Yorkshire for their distinctive character: "trenchant, determined and welcoming".

Later there's another equally diverse line-up for the final event of the day, an open-air concert in the grounds of another great house, Temple Newsam, a 16th century mansion now owned by Leeds City Council.

Charlotte Church
Charlotte Church headed a special jubilee concert

The council has given away 25,000 tickets to watch a line-up that includes Lesley Garrett (again), Charlotte Church and Def Leppard (who have flown in especially from the US to perform), 25 years after the band was started in the bedroom of a Sheffield council flat by teenagers Joe Elliott and Rick Savage.

In between the music, a succession of Yorkshire sportsmen and women - including county cricketers, United footballers and what looks like the entire Leeds Rhinos rugby league team - come on stage to wish one of Leeds' great rivals, Manchester across the Pennines, luck with the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.

At the climax of the proceedings - amid bright sunshine that has defied the forecasters - the Queen arrives to take delivery of the Jubilee Baton from Jane Tomlinson - who ran in this year's London Marathon to raise money for breast cancer research, despite suffering from terminal cancer herself.


The baton left Buckingham Palace on 11 March, containing a message from the Queen, and will arrive in Manchester in time for the Games' opening ceremony on 25 July.

In the meantime it has travelled to 23 Commonwealth countries and a host of cities around the UK.

But only in Leeds does the baton's arrival coincide with the Queen's visit, and only in Leeds is it marked with quite such style.

It is a distinction the folk of West Yorkshire will be typically proud of.

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