There was a time in the nineties that the Australian media took the ideological decision to downplay royalty. But we have been pointing out for some time that Royal programmes rate very well, and are probably not expensive to acquire. Tired of the ABC not performing its role as the national broadcaster, we suggested viewers contact the Nine network, which was then repeating an earlier royal programme.  We even gave contact details.

Since then, and before, we have seen programmes about royalty rating very well, even repeats. And the cost must be relatively small – there are no billing fees for royalty.  And to any republicans reading this and getting hot under the collar, tell me please which programmes about today’s republicans rate as well?  The trouble for republicans is that Australians are very interested in our Royal Family, and now, of course the Danish Royal Family, even if this outrages Mr. Greg Barns. Australians are by nature more royalist than roundhead.

Now we claim no  credit for this, but we are delighted to see that the Nine Network has just signed one of Australia's biggest stars to with a programme about our Royal Family.  Jonathon Moran and Richard Clune in The Sunday Herald Sun on 16 December , 2007, “Royal plan for Australian Oscar winner Cate Blanchett,” say that this is to spearhead their battle to win back television ratings in 2008.

So the television networks now accept that Australians want to see their Royal Family.They say that in  a year in which it appeared she couldn't be any busier, Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett will narrate the documentary A Year With the Royal Family.

The six-part observational series provides a rare insight into the daily lives of Queen Elizabeth and her family. As we reported in this column on 14 July, 2007, the BBC apologised to Her Majesty “for mistakenly showing footage which wrongly implied she walked out of a portrait session”  during the making of the programme.  The programme trailer with that footage had been shown triumphantly to the world’s media  at a launch of the BBC's autumn schedule.

"It's a fascinating insight into what goes on behind closed doors of the traditionally very private royal family," Ms Blanchett told the Herald Sun."I am very much looking forward to doing the narration for ‘A Year With the Royal Family’."

 Mr Moran and Mr Clune report that Ms. Blanchett is no stranger to the British royals. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of the Queen Elizabeth I in 1999 and recently reprised the role for the sequel, Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
 

Thinking of the talented Ms. Blanchett, we were reminded of our story that Ms. Nicole Kidman’s award in the Order of Australia was little remarked in the wider world. As a Canadian observer said, this is so unlike the conferring of an honour which carries the title Dame. Dame Nicole Kidman or Dame Cate Blanchette has a nice ring about it, and places them with those great actresses who have been so recognized.

 Time, perhaps for HM's Australian Prime Minister, the Hon. Kevin Rudd to think about of restoring the AD, and the AK, the suppression of which has left such a gap in the Order of Australia.

It could be done without infringing ALP policy, as we explained in this column on 23 March 2006.