Saturday, 12 May 2012

William & Kate: The First Year ITV TV REVIEW

HAS IT really been 12 months? Or merely a year? ITV said it was so it must be true. It's been a full year since that Middleton girl grabbed world headlines. As she walked down the aisle, millions of viewers were prompted to ask: “Who’s that bridesmaid?” One observer in William & Kate: The First Year (ITV1, Tuesday), even said: “It was breathtaking and a wonderful sight.” Yes, it was “Bottom- gate”, the real story behind the wedding of the year, and the most discussed derriere of the day, belonging to sister Pippa Middleton. Seeing the footage from 12 months ago made you realise just how much Kate had managed to hog the camera from her sister Pippa. shameful. This extraordinary fact was overlooked by ITV which insisted on discussing the first 12 months of the marriage of Kate and William, a little-known girl from the home counties and a helicopter rescue pilot. The film was hilariously shallow, not least because Royal documentaries, or random clips from the archive as this was, go out of their way to tell the audience that everyone in the Royal family, even someone who has just joined it, is just like us. sure they are. You could see the worry lines on Kate’s face: Wonga.com or Payday Loans? One observer said: “They understand; they care.” On the other hand, it’s all a “fairytale”. OK, make up your mind. Reality or fiction? We actually get the fiction because it’s better for us not to know how much Kate is spending in Waitrose in Anglesey, where the couple now live when they are not somewhere else. ITV did struggle, or didn’t try, to put together a credible film. the revelations came thick and fast. a photographer called Hugo, who took the main family portrait on the wedding day, revealed: “i had 28 minutes to take the photo.” Gosh, a whole half hour. Get on with it! That wasn’t all from plummy Hugo. He had a special, secret weapon to keep his “subjects” under control: “i felt that jelly beans were a suitable bribe.” shocking! i do hope that never gets out. it will be the Royal scandal of the decade. The most shocking revelation, however, came from an American “body expert” (she looks at bodies for a living). Her take on matters went thus: “those two are not afraid to touch each other.” this was getting interesting now. Where is ITV taking us? Next thing we were on a beach in Anglesey in “reconstruction” territory, with “Kate and Wills” standing there, and standing there. then holding hands. then nothing. it was an amazing script. We learned there is a serious side to Kate. “she’s an enormously powerful sales driver,” said one. What impertinence. Next thing, they will be suggesting a career in marketing for her. She was like Diana, too, who, we were told, “loved wearing clothes”. the best moment saw our favourite Royal, the Queen, who is nothing if not brutally honest. On a visit to an exhibition of Kate’s dress, she said: “it’s horrible!” Brilliant. Who wouldn’t love to overhear her and Philip watching the TV? The final word, however, must go to our “body expert”, who concluded: “they smile at each other. they look at each other. it’s cute.” it’s not, actually. You are just very weird. There is a weirdness about Dr Lucy Worsley who co-presented the enjoyable Antiques Uncovered (BBC2, Wednesday). For a start, she doesn’t sound like she’s from Reading. she also has a doctorate in a musty old subject but says things like “it’s a real whopper” to describe a beautiful and ornate stately home. isn’t that a term more commonly used to describe a certain hamburger? However, some of her insights, make you think a little: “there’s something inherently middle class about a fish knife.” To which you could say there’s something inherently working class about a fish wife. Her co-presenter is Mark Hill who is actually an “antiques expert”. Now there’s a rare sight on the TV. He looked a little like Gok Wan but with highlights. Hill was nonetheless very learned about many fine objects. Indeed, there was so much to learn in this show, you could have been forgiven for needing a good sit down at the end. Most comforting was to see so many fine tradespeople still using intricate skills to make many of these objects, including fine porcelain, chandeliers, and silver. It was also fascinating to learn that Spode, he of the bone china, went downmarket to develop, as Dr Worsley said, "porcelain for the people". WE ALSO learned that Chippendale compiled the first "Ikea-style furniture catalogue", which we shall all recall next time we can't put together a flat-pack cupboard. It was surprising to see that craftsman are still making pieces in the style of Chippendale. you would be hard-pressed to think there is room for another antiques format but this one comes highly recommended. There is now an American series of The Killing (C4, Thursday). This is the second offering of the Danish story and a pullover doesn’t feature at all. However, since it’s set in Seattle I expect there will be ample opportunity for umbrellas. The Killing is so moody it’s like a disagreeable teenager. The main character is Sarah who, along with her son Jack, are itinerants while she investigates a murder and uncovers corruption. Everyone in this very serious drama looks terribly worried about everything. Is it possible for a murder-mystery to be too miserable? even Miss Marple manages a wry smile at points. Danish drama, even when done by Americans, is making a killing but lighten up, please.