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Australian Broadcaster Nixes Comedy Coverage of William and Kate

A TV crew works as members of the household brigade marching band walk in front of Buckingham palace, in London, on April 28, 2011.

An Australian broadcaster has canceled a satirical comedy team's planned coverage of the wedding of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton, after the royal family pressured news outlets to limit the broadcaster's access to live footage of the ceremony.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation had scheduled the comedy group "The Chaser" to provide commentary during Friday's ceremony on its alternative channel, utilizing a live feed provided by the BBC.

But Clarence House, the private office for Prince Charles, William's father, restricted the BBC and other news broadcasters from using or providing the footage for any kind of "entertainment program or content," including drama or comedy.

ABC-TV director Kim Dalton said he was "surprised and disappointed" by the decision to restrict coverage of the marriage. Australia is an independent member of the British Commonwealth, and the role of the British royal family is ceremonial.

Julian Morrow, a member of the comedy troupe, says the royal family's actions are "quite out of keeping with modern democratic times." The group later issued an open letter to Queen Elizabeth asking for mercy and what it called "a stay of execution."

But Morrow jokingly admitted that people who appeal for clemency are usually executed.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.