Prince Harry hearing: Sky News uses actor to recite key lines from court testimony
It’s fair to say that the Duke of Sussex and the media – particularly the tabloid press – don’t get on all too well, with the prince previously branding it the “devil” in an interview with ITV News’ Tom Bradby earlier this year.
Now, as the duke is back in the headlines with his court case against the publisher of the Daily Mirror over alleged phone hacking (which the company denies), paparazzi and broadcasters have a bit of a problem with capturing footage inside of the courtroom.
While the broadcasting of High Court and Senior Circuit judges handing out criminal sentences was allowed from 2020 (with the first sentencing remarks aired in 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic), filming anything else in court is very much forbidden and risks those responsible being found in contempt.
Except, written transcriptions aren’t the most visually exciting thing in the world for TV news stations, who are more interested in some good quality video for their reporting.
Thankfully, Sky News offered up a solution on Tuesday – by roping in an actor to perform a dramatic recital of some of the most eye-opening moments from Harry’s testimony.
In a clip of a reconstruction shared by the station online, Laurence Dobiesz (who starred in the 2011 Sherlock Holmes film sequel A Game of Shadows) can be seen sporting a blue suit and standing behind a lectern as he tries to emulate the duke’s demeanour in court.
The accompanying caption reads: “In the phone hacking case, Prince Harry told the court that every single article played a destructive role in his life.
“There are no cameras in court, so as part of a special progamme, Sky News has recorded what was said by the duke, played by an actor.”
With a few extravagant hand gestures along the way, Dobiesz recites a passage in which the prince said “every single one” of the articles penned by the tabloid press played a “destructive role in my growing up”.
Harry/the actor (this is all very confusing) said: “More than thousands, maybe millions of articles have been written about me since age 12 … because it’s 20 years ago, I simply cannot speculate how I was and whether I saw these articles at the time.
“I certainly saw lots of articles at the time - the ones I was made aware of because of the behaviour and reaction of people in my inner circle.
“Unfortunately, stories that I’ve only shared with one or two people within my inner circle, ends up front page of a newspaper or any page, your circle of friends starts to shrink and diminish rather rapidly.”
It’s certainly an unusual way of presenting the information to viewers, but Twitter was soon to conclude it was still “creepy” and “embarrassing”:
\u201c@SkyNews Somewhere, a professional Phillip Schofield lookalike realises his career may not be quite over.\u201d
\u201c@SkyNews I did not have Sky News hiring an actor to read Prince Harry's testimony like he's playing Macbeth at a community theater on my 2023 bingo card, but here we are. \ud83d\ude06\ud83d\ude06\ud83d\ude06\u201d