The Day Will and Kate Got Married, Wednesday 7th April, 9pm, ITV
Hurrah! It’s the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s tenth wedding anniversary. Or rather, it will be in several weeks (on 29th April, to be precise). But in TV land, broadcasters are so eager not to be pipped to the post by a rival channel airing a rival programme about the same subject, that anniversaries are celebrated earlier and earlier. The logical conclusion to this is that one day, we will have a royal wedding, and the following night we’ll have the tenth anniversary retrospective showing on TV.
The point is, they’re approaching the ten-year mark. Well done them. I hope they are able to celebrate. Restaurants and pubs will be open with outdoor seating by then, so maybe a couple of pints down the Dog and Duck in Windsor, and a table outside the local Garfunkels. Whatever the plan, William had better splash out on the grub, the tenth anniversary is traditionally either tin or aluminium, so the gift is going to be a disappointment.
Anyway, this hour-long, one-off documentary revisits the great day, complete with recollections from many of those involved. When one thinks of the international list of celebrities, dignitaries, actors, pop stars and footballers who attended the occasion, the idea of hearing their recollections of the day sounds quite exciting. Instead, we have the Middletons’ family butcher, and local publican, remembering what it was like to attend the wedding. Incidentally, if you invited your butcher to your wedding, it’s presumably a sign either that your wedding is too big, or that you’re eating too much meat.
As well as hearing from some if those in attendance, the programme offers a quick retrospective of Will and Kate’s relationship. Kate had secured a place at Edinburgh University, but when it emerged that William was going to St Andrews, she applied there and was accepted. I assume she did so just to meet the Prince – there is no other reason why one would leave the vastly superior Edinburgh University for St Andrews. And, naturally, my status as an Edinburgh alumni has nothing whatsoever to do with this.
The interviews aren’t limited to wedding guests. We hear from an embroiderer who worked, in top secret, on the wedding dress’ lace, and the cake maker who designed and constructed a cake so huge and elaborate it took 40 boxes to transport it to the Palace. We hear, too, from the policeman in charge of keeping the wedding safe (not a job for the easily stressed) and the wedding’s official photographer (ditto). Other interviewees include Princess Katherine’s mother’s brother, who just seems thrilled to be on the telly, and the usual collection of professionals who make their living from talking about the royal family.
If I sound in any way disparaging of the programme, that is in no way intended. This is a thoroughly enjoyable look back at a joyous occasion, a day when Britain was defined by street parties and bunting, as opposed to social distancing requirements and face masks. It really was a day of palpable national excitement, a day when events felt genuinely momentous and historic.
But I do have one rather significant gripe with this documentary. It is meant to be focussing on the key events and occurrences that enraptured the nation that day. And yet they have omitted to mention the single aspect of the day that was perhaps considered the most newsworthy of all by the press.
I refer, of course, to Pippa Middleton’s bottom.
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Trip Hazard: My Great British Adventure, Friday 9th April, 8:30pm, Channel 4
I bow to no man in my love of a travelogue. And I have found that the last year has offered an opportunity to get to know this great, lumpy island we call home a little better. The pandemic has meant that we’ve all been confined to barracks, somewhat, and travel presenters have been forced to do their thing in Cornwall or Cumbria rather than Cairns or Caracas. It’s been lovely. But, frankly, I’ve probably seen enough. I love the verdant, rolling hills, and weatherworn stone cottages, the leafy glades and green fields. But I’ve done that now. It’s all a bit samey. Are travelogues becoming… a bit dull?
In a word, no. Not if this new offering, from comedian Rosie Jones, is anything to go by. This is a travel show with all of the elements you are used to (those verdant hills, tourist attractions, strange local pastimes, unusual places to stay) and a few that you aren’t (imagined scenes with a Channel 4 executive, sarcastic voiceover from the excellent Olivia Colman). Not to mention the fact that Rosie Jones is disabled, which is relevant only in the sense that she riffs on the fact constantly, and to brilliant comic effect. As the Channel 4 exec (played by Rachel Stubbings) says in the opening scene: “You tick a lot of boxes: Woman, disabled, gay, northern.”
So off she goes on her round-Britain odyssey, “like a disabled, northern Joanna Lumley” as the voiceover puts it. Each week, she will be joined by a celebrity guest in a different location. Tonight, Gogglebox and I’m a Celebrity’s Scarlett Moffatt accompanies Rosie to the Lake District.
The two are filmed walking up a hill, and arriving at a stunning vista, at the end of what the voiceover describes as “an exhausting six-minute walk.” They admire the view for a moment, before Rosie asks Scarlett to carry her back down the hill. Next, it’s on to Wordsworth’s cottage, where the two are so inspired that they decide to sit in the garden and take inspiration for their poems, as Wordsworth did, from nature. The results, however, are far from Wordsworthian.
After a despairing telephone briefing from the exec, our intrepid pair move on to Kendall Castle, where they encounter three Viking re-enactors. Before long, Scarlett and Rosie are decked out in chain mail and helmets, each given a sword and a shield, and pitched into mock battle. Afterwards, a breathless Rosie reflects: “I’m not an expert, but I don’t think the Vikings would have screamed that much. And there wouldn’t have been that many people eating picnics.”
And so on to the unusual accommodation: In Grange-Over-Sands there is a farm where you can pay to sleep in a bunk bed in the stables next to the horses. It looks hellish to me, and I can’t imagine it smells too fresh, but each to their own. The following morning, the pair start the day with sticky toffee pudding for breakfast – much more up my street.
Stomachs too full to walk, the pair get a ride on an enormous traction engine, which Rosie is not allowed to drive, she explains, “because of my issues… with road rage.” Scarlett, however, is allowed behind the wheel of the massive behemoth, in spite of having failed her driving test 13 times. Thirteen? How is that even possible? Finally, it’s time to meet a local food historian, and use his ancient equipment to make sausages. For some reason I’m sure I can’t fathom, this makes the girls very giggly.
This show is enormous good fun, full of positivity, nonsense, irreverence and silliness. But it’s also a celebration of the natural and geographical delights our country has to offer, and a visual treat. Later episodes come from Whitby, Norwich and Anglesey, and all are available from Friday on All 4.
The best… and the rest:
Saturday 3rd April
Handel’s Messiah from English National Opera, 6pm, BBC Two: My mum’s favourite piece of music (my, but we got bored of it being the only tape in the Volvo…) This special performance of the oratorio recorded at the London Coliseum promises to bring back memories of long car journeys to Kettering.
Easter from King’s, 7pm, BBC Two: Music and readings from the iconic chapel at King’s College. Cambridge, featuring the world-famous choir.
Alan Carr’s Epic Gameshow – Celebrity Special, 8:35pm, ITV: Tonight, the spextacular comedian recreates classic gameshow Play Your Cards Right, with Harry and Sandra Redknapp and Martin and Shirlie Kemp competing to raise money for charity.
Freddie Mercury: A Life in Ten Pictures, 9pm, BBC Two: A journey through the life of the rock legend, via ten defining photographs, accompanied by the recollections of those closest to the singer. Followed by a recording of Queen live in Montreal, and a documentary about Bohemian Rhapsody.
Paul Burrell: Royal Service, Scandal and Celebrity, 9pm, Channel 5: Documentary about Princess Diana’s former butler, charting his journey from employee and confidant to national celebrity and household name.
Monday 5th April
Springtime on the Farm 1/4, 8pm, Channel 5: Helen Skelton and Adam Henson return with another series of the show celebrating the hard work of Britain’s farmers, screening over the next four nights.
Louis Theroux: Shooting Joe Exotic, 9pm, BBC Two: The film-maker returns to Oklahoma where, ten years ago, he made a film about dangerous pets, featuring Joe Exotic. Exotic went on to be the star of Netflix’s documentary hit, Tiger King, but is now in prison. Louis charts his extraordinary rise and fall.
Agatha and Poirot: Partners in Crime, 9pm, ITV: To mark 100 years since the Belgian sleuth first appeared in print, Richard E Grant examines the life of both author and character in this one-off documentary.
Intruder 1/4, 9pm, Channel 5: Sam and Rebecca have an idyllic life in the West Country, which means only one thing in a TV drama: Disaster beckons. When two teenagers break into their home, that disaster duly arrives with bells on. This four part drama, starring Elaine Cassidy and Tom Meeten, is on four consecutive nights.
Wednesday 8th April
Location, Location, Location, 8pm, Channel 4: Phil and Kirstie return with the long-running but ever-watchable property show, this time helping house hunters explore their options in the East Midlands.
Thursday 9th April
The Queen Unseen, 9pm, ITV: The nine-squillionth royal documentary of the year looks back at the Queen’s coronation, with a psychologist unpicking her body language, and a lip-reading expert revealing what was said on the famous balcony footage.
Friday 10th April
Have I Got News For You, 9:30pm, BBC One: Ian Hislop and Paul Merton return for the 61st (!) series of the satirical current affairs show, with guest presenter David Tennant, comedian Jack Dee, and journalist Helen Lewis.
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