Mercury Prize cancels awards ceremony as BBC suspends programming to pay tribute to Queen

Mercury Prize cancels awards ceremony as BBC suspends programming to pay tribute to Queen

The 2022 Mercury Prize ceremony has been cancelled following the announcement that the Queen has died, aged 96.

Political leaders from the UK and around the world have paid tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the country’s longest-reigning monarch.

The BBC had already paused its regular programming on BBC One earlier today to provide viewers with updates from Balmoral, as the Queen’s family gathered amid official reports on her health. 

BBC Music had partnered with Mercury Prize organisers the BPI on planned coverage of the 2022 awards, including a live broadcast across TV on BBC Four and radio on BBC 6 Music. However, that coverage appeared in doubt following the announcement from Buckingham Palace just before lunchtime about the Queen’s condition.

Just after 6.30pm, the broadcaster fully suspended its schedule as part of a plan for its channels in the event of the death of the Queen. The announcement that the Queen had died peacefully this afternoon was followed by the National Anthem. 6 Music and other music stations immediately switched to tributes and BBC News coverage.

Mercury Prize organisers had earlier cancelled a red-carpet event for artists arriving at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, as concerns grew about the health of the Queen. The ceremony itself was cancelled shortly before 7pm as guests prepared for the meal and performances.

In a statement at the event, organisers said: “In light of the sad news of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen, we are sorry to announce that we will not be proceeding with this evening’s event as planned. Mercury Prize will be communicating with guests and audience members over the coming days. We thank you for your understanding at this difficult and sad time.”

An additional statement was posted on social media.

It remains to be seen how this year’s winning album will be announced.

Eleven of the 12 shortlisted acts had been due to perform at the ceremony: Fergus McCreadie, Gwenno, Jessie Buckley & Bernard Butler, Joy Crookes, Kojey Radical, Little Simz, Nova Twins, Sam Fender, Self Esteem, Wet Leg and Yard Act. Harry Styles, who is currently on a US tour, had supplied a filmed performance.

The Mercury Prize has never previously been cancelled in its 30-year history. The ceremony went ahead on September 12, 2001, in the wake of the terrorist attack in the US. PJ Harvey, who was in Washington, was unable to receive the award in person.


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