Trial of Michael Jackson's doctor a major draw in Britain
Fans here feel particularly connected to the late King of Pop, who was preparing to launch a comeback tour starting in London when he died in 2009. Those interested in the trial of Conrad Murray, Jackson's doctor, were able to follow every last word of the proceedings on Sky News, which offered live coverage virtually from Day One, declining to pre-empt the trial even as Europe struggled to prevent its single currency from imploding and triggering a global recession.
Only a few days ago, "The Life of an Icon," a documentary about Jackson by impresario David Gest, premiered at a cinema in London's storied Leicester Square. (The reviews were mixed; excessive emphasis in the film is given to asserting the singer's heterosexuality, the Guardian newspaper said, adding that Jackson "is still an enigma.") Near Leicester Square, "Thriller Live," a staged concert tribute to the singer, is into its sixth year in a theater in London's West End.
After the verdict was announced Monday, the BBC and Sky ran footage of Murray and of the jubilant reaction outside the Los Angeles courtroom in a continuous loop as music critics and members of Jackson's fan club came on camera to offer their insights.
The story was the top item on several British news sites, not just of the country's notoriously gossipy tabloids but its "respectable" papers as well.
-- Henry Chu
Photo: Singer Michael Jackson attends a March 5, 2009, news conference in London. Credit: European Pressphoto Agency