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A screen grab of CBC host Peter Mansbridge's coverage of the April 29, 2011 wedding of Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.CBC screen grab

Do you know who’s back? You don’t? Well then, you’ll be glad you stopped by this column on the royal wedding.

Peter “Pastor” Mansbridge is back. That’s right. I kid you not. Wedding day coverage on CBC TV and CBC NN starts at 4 a.m. ET on Saturday. The live coverage is hosted by Adrienne Arsenault who is joined by “royal expert” Katie Nicholl, author of a book about Prince Harry. And then, says the CBC, “Peter Mansbridge, former anchor of The National, will drop by the broadcasting booth during the special.”

The Pastor will “drop by.” Indeed. As Hamlet said to Rosencrantz, “Strewth, there’s something unnatural in this, if philosophy could discover it.” What’s unnatural is that only one of the fab four who anchor The National is being chosen to emote from England on the big day and the Pastor is called upon to drop by. Like the ghost of Hamlet’s father he lurks, a reminder that things went awry.

Now, there are people out there who don’t give a fig about the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Those people don’t exist as far as the television racket is concerned. It is the most exciting thing to happen in ages. It is about conjugal bliss. It is about spectacle and ceremony and frocks. It is about a prince who has found his soulmate in the person of an actor, a commoner from the United States who has a family plucked straight from a Dr. Phil special about “Huge Family Drama.” (“Huge Family Drama” is an actual category for Dr. Phil. It’s right there on his website.) What’s not to like?

The excitement here in Canada is monumental, if the TV racket is any guide. CTV has completely lost its mind. Gone totally bonkers. The news that the children of CTV royalty Ben Mulroney and his missus Jessica are among the bridesmaids and page boys chosen by Harry and Meghan sent CTV News into the sort of tizzy that’s downright worrying. I’m surprised that the lot of them weren’t ordered to lie down with a cold cloth on their heads. They wouldn’t do that, mind you. They’d be afraid they’d arise to find that Lloyd Robertson was going to “drop by” the coverage.

CTV News’ live coverage also stars at 4 a.m. on Saturday and is led by chief anchor and senior editor Lisa LaFlamme, who has been “on the ground in Windsor” (the one in England, not Ontario, obviously) since Wednesday. Her sidekick-expert is Hugo Vickers, who “wrote the authorized history of St. George’s Chapel.” Not that the history of the church is going to be the meat and drink of the coverage. Strewth, no. Jann Arden will “contribute her own unique perspective as a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and long-time fan of the Royal Family.” LaFlamme and Arden will be joined by a small army of CTV reporters who will deliver what CTV calls “frequent reports.” The coverage will also stream across every platform owned by Bell Media. The involvement of the Mulroney progeny demands that it is so.

All the U.S. networks and most of the all-news channels will have live coverage on Saturday starting at an unholy hour. Even U.S. President Donald Trump’s fave show, Fox & Friends, is doing a live special from Britain. You can bet your pounds and pence that everywhere the gist will be a sugary Disney-type concentration on the Cinderella side of things and the bride’s accession to royalty. Possibly, there will be tears.

If you want a bluntly trashy assessment of all that, TLC has two specials on Friday.

Meghan Markle: A Royal Love Story (9 p.m., TLC) has “interviews with her friends, stylists and royal experts about the British monarchy’s newest member.” Then Secrets of the Royal Wedding (10 p.m., TLC) promises not so many “secrets” about the wedding, but “a look at the whirlwind royal romance that led up to the highly anticipated wedding.” Right. From the channel that brought you Freaky Eaters and Alaska Women Looking for Love.

A good alternative bet on Saturday morning might be The Royal Wedding Live With Cord and Tish! (HBO, 7:30 a.m.), with news anchors “Cord Hosenbeck” and “Tish Cattigan” doing the coverage. Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon play Cord and Tish.

Here’s the schedule of the royal wedding: 6 a.m. ET, guests arrive. 6:20 a.m., Royal Family arrives. 6:45 a.m., Prince Harry and Prince William arrive. 6:55 a.m., the Queen arrives. 6:59 a.m., Meghan Markle arrives. Then at 7 a.m., the wedding ceremony starts. At 8 a.m., the ceremony ends and the exit procession starts.

If you need further direction, Pastor Mansbridge will set you straight and ensure you don’t lose your mind. I kid you not.

Since the late 1800s, the grounds of Windsor Castle has been as popular a destination for royal weddings as Buckingham Palace in London, UK. Prince Harry and Ms. Markle do have a unique spin on the procession route through town after the ceremony.

The Globe and Mail