Tuesday’s TV: Nothing More than a Load of Posh People having a Gossip About the Royals

November 4, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

PRINCE CHARLES’ OTHER MISTRESS, Channel 4, Tuesday 4th November, 9pm Alert me

Oh, yah, who wasn’t aware that Prince Charles had another mistress?…  Pretty young filly, oh but she was rather a vulgar media luvvy by the end… This pretty much sums up the infuriating la-dee-da, we-know-the-inside-royal-story, sensationalised tone of Prince Charles’ Other Mistress that ultimately lets down the gloomy tale it’s trying to tell.

Channel 4’s High Society Season returns tonight with the first of four documentaries investigating the hush-hush scandals from the upper echelons of British society (indulgent, perhaps?).  Tonight, the subject of the programme is Australian Dale Tryon, ‘Kanga’ to her witty socialite chums, who competed with Camilla for Charles’ affections but lost out when she blabbed to journalists about their relationship.

It traces the story of Kanga’s rise up into the inner circle, snub by the Windsors and gradual demise into mental and physical illness, and eventual death.  And it doesn’t half get on your nerves.

Unless you’re a massive ra-ra loving royalist, this show causes both irritation and a constant feeling of perplexity.
What the documentary’s trying to say is that Kanga seems to have been disturbingly air-brushed from the Royal story.  What the people being interviewed are actually caught up in is the regal melodrama of it all.

As a bizarre Tim Burton-esque soundtrack tinkles away with the odd tension-building drum beat and lacking video footage means that a stock of the same photographs are zoomed/panned to make it all extra mysterious, upper classers gratingly chin-wag about the dos and don’ts of Royal culture. One man chirpily (and quite blatantly bigotedly) comments, “they say an English gentleman will always lay down his wife for his country? and another adds in that well respected (ha!) fact that if a Prince is going to have an affair, he must make sure she’s married and has more to lose than him.  Ergh…

As well as the annoyingly gossipy sensationalism that actually ultimately trivialises a woman’s death, I can’t help but feel that this documentary misses the point for me.  Why does anyone care about Charles’ love life anyway?  Why do we care about the Windsors in general for that matter?

Though trying to tell a compelling story, when all’s said and done, this is nothing more than a load of posh idiots having a pretty insensitive gossip for an hour about a lady who got caught up in the weird societal rituals of Britain’s bizarre and fairly pointless elite.

By Susan Allen