In 1969, documentary maker Richard Cawston was invited to film a fly-on-the-wall documentary of the Royal Family at work and play. At the time, it caused a sensation and was watched by three-quarters of the British population. It was the subject of endless repeats on both the BBC and ITV, but before the end of the year it had been hoiked from public view and locked in a dingy cupboard, never to be seen again.
BBC controller David Attenborough (the same) said it was "killing the monarchy" by revealing them to be on the one hand stratospherically posh and therefore a bit weird, while on the other hand terribly prosaic and quite a lot like normal human beings. That wouldn't do at all.
Buck House quickly decided it had all been a hideous, hideous mistake, and withdrew permission to ever show it again to anyone. Such is the disdain for the doc that the National Gallery only squeaked out 90 seconds worth of footage for a major retrospective of the Queen's portraits earlier this year. Pretty much the entire 90 seconds is artfully cut into this film looking back at the experiment.
The Queen comes across as funny and charming; Prince Philip looks quite suave and relaxed; Anne is confident, yet highly conscious of the camera; but Charles looks like a Toby jug beamed in from another planet. He spends so much of the time blushing you fear he might induce a stroke. He's like a one-man study in social discomfort, to the extent you almost feel sorry for the massive, wonky-gobbed, over-privileged, expensive-biscuit-flogging bastard.
I never knew this existed and couldn't really give a fig for the Royals, but this - I simply have to see this. Somehow. Some way. Watch this space.
Taking a slash
5 days ago