CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews the weekend’s TV: Silk, ribbons, stockings… it’s Fifty Shades of Queen Victoria!
Queen Victoria: Love, Lust And Leadership
The Trump Show: Downfall
She called him ‘Master’. He called her ‘Child’ and would kneel to tie the silk ribbons at the tops of her stockings after another sleepless night of sensuality.
Victoria and Albert were the kinkiest couple ever to occupy Buckingham Palace. If a movie is made about their sex life, it’ll have to be called Fifty Shades Of Our Gracious Queen.
Every morning, claimed Dr Annie Gray, in Queen Victoria: Love, Lust And Leadership (C5), the Prince Regent would assist the monarch with the ties of her thigh-length stockings. This took Albert, said the historian, directly into the giggle zone, so-called because ‘when you get that far, you’re laughing’.
The couple argued as furiously as they made love so, far from being the Teutonic bore we all imagine from watching Tom Hughes play him in ITV’s costume drama, Victoria, the prince put the sex into Saxe-Coburg. Little wonder Her Majesty had six children before she was out of her 20s.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were the kinkiest couple ever to occupy Buckingham Palace
All that passion and childbirth left the Queen mentally exhausted. A recently unearthed journal by her personal physician records that three weeks after the birth of her second baby — the future King Edward VII — Victoria was suffering hallucinations.
She complained of seeing spots on people’s faces that turned into writhing worms. Aware that her grandfather, George III, suffered long bouts of insanity, she feared she was losing her mind.
Much of this threw a fresh slant on a well-worn royal story. The documentary promised to show us ‘Victoria as we’ve never seen her before’, which was ambitious: many programmes have covered this ground, not least the three-part Queen Victoria’s Children, currently being repeated on BBC4.
Cheap send-off of the night:
Keeley Hawes dug a grave in the garden for her dead hubby and his cardboard coffin, in Finding Alice (ITV). Dad Nigel Havers sniffled: ‘I think it’s great you’re thinking outside the box.’ That puts the fun in funeral.
The segment on her governess Louise Lehzen, who preserved locks of the Queen’s hair in her scrapbooks, exactly replicated a story told by Lucy Worsley in her recent tour of the royal palaces.
But I’d never heard the roll call of servants the couple took on trips to Scotland: a hairdresser, a pastry cook, a confectioner, 11 footmen, a nursery maid, two messengers, a roasting cook, a baker, an upholsterer and a ‘table decker’. You wonder how they ever managed to get any privacy for, well, you know — sending her victorious.
Orange Donald’s conviction that he was victorious in last year’s U.S. presidential election was the theme of The Trump Show: Downfall (BBC2).
That word ‘downfall’ is a none-too-subtle reference to the last days in Hitler’s bunker, charted in a film of that name.
This hour-long programme, however, suffered badly from its brevity. Bogged down in coverage of legal appeals and incoherent speeches, it left itself only five minutes to show the appalling events of January 6, when the outgoing Commander-in-Chief whipped up a mob to invade Congress. It also ignored the Twitter ban entirely.
Jon Sopel and Anthony Scaramucci made no secret of their loathing for the man. The BBC reporter, who crossed swords with Trump at White House press conferences, compared him to fictional gangster Tony Soprano.
The Mooch, once sacked by Trump for being too foul-mouthed and back-stabbing, summed him up: ‘This is a cunning sociopath — he’s nuts, but he’s very cunning.’
That is not, I predict, the harshest thing we’ll hear said about the ousted President in the coming months.