The Queen Review: Sisters Doing It For Themselves
THE QUEEN: Sunday 29th November, Channel 4, 9pm ALERT ME
We remember the days when we had to make do with one yuletide helping of the Queen per year – but she hasn’t been off our screens of late.
Just a couple of weeks ago we saw her swanning around in 3D and now Channel 4 are kicking off a mini-series of five programmes, each dedicated to a different chapter in our beloved monarch’s life.
Emilia Fox stars in the first this evening and she portrays a young Elizabeth as she struggles to contain a relationship between her sister (Princess Margaret) and the dashing but divorced war hero Peter Townsend.
Despite being more than ten years her senior, this member of royal staff had become very close to the young princess in the years following the war. While his namesake was busy planning a rock career with The Who, he was playing (tonsil) tennis with the second in line to the throne.
Of course this was a time when the d word was a very dirty one, and the Queen – who is well summed up by the narrator as a “young woman surrounded by old men” – is heavily advised to quash the union.
In the same way that Helen Mirren breathed life into the royal story a couple of years ago, this programme illuminates a subtler side to Queen Elizabeth’s character. The story of two sisters divided by duty, but still deeply committed to each other, is also an interesting one.
This opening chapter certainly bodes well for the rest of the hour-long specials that will be running concurrently until Thursday night, and whether you dip in and out or watch all five, each slice of social history should be intriguing.