Relax, Your Majesty! The Great Paxo is now in favour of royals: CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV
Paxman On The Queen’s Children
Martin Clunes: Islands of America
Cancel the revolution. The Royal Family is saved. Her Majesty’s clan has the ultimate seal of approval, from the Great Paxo.
‘I used to believe that Britain should be a republic,’ announced the country’s quizmaster-general, at the start of his two-part documentary, Paxman On The Queen’s Children (C5).
‘Now I’m a monarchist.’
Decades of cross-examining politicians have convinced him, Jeremy Paxman explained, that the role of Britain’s figurehead ‘should be kept out of the hands of those who want the job’.
Decades of cross-examining politicians have convinced Jeremy Paxman that the role of Britain’s figurehead ‘should be kept out of the hands of those who want the job’
There’s no more self-confident performer on television. He makes Alan Yentob look bashful, and David Dimbleby appear racked with doubt
He’s right, of course. What better argument for preserving our centuries of royal tradition than the spectre of the alternative — President Blair and First Lady Cherie?
But the sheer assurance with which Paxman issues these edicts is breathtaking to see.
There’s no more self-confident performer on television. He makes Alan Yentob look bashful, and David Dimbleby appear racked with doubt.
As he welcomed one royal historian for a chat, the man nervously commented how marvellous it was to be in the presence of the ‘Grand Inquisitor’. Paxman left that comment in the edit.
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And as he cast his eye over Prince Charles’s first attempt at journalism, a gauche piece in the Cambridge student newspaper, the presenter sneered: ‘If I’d been editor, it wouldn’t have been printed.’
In fact, he was at the university at the same time as the Prince of Wales, though they didn’t meet: ‘You certainly never saw him in the pub.’
Paxman revealed that the royal student’s group of friends were approved and selected for him by the Master of Trinity College.
Visiting the USA’s most far-flung outposts in Islands Of America, the star of Doc Martin shook hands, smiled and bowed with all the grace of a minor royal on walkabout
As he inspected bubbling volcanoes in Hawaii and watched grizzly bears sporting in Alaskan streams, he kept murmuring, ‘Interesting!’
Perhaps lured into the open by Paxman’s reputation as an interviewer, one of those friends was happy to reminisce about college days.
Brod Munro-Wilson recalled how they used to tease the poor prince that he was expected to marry some hairy-hoofed aristo daughter.
‘He said to me: ‘Brod, shall I go gay?’ We all roared with laughter.’
That set the tone for Paxman’s discoveries. He learned that Princess Anne had a fling with Andrew Parker Bowles, later to be Camilla’s first husband: none of them was married at the time. Anne, we heard, ‘had a lot of fun. She wasn’t a stuffy old thing.’
Grim fascination of the night
Grim fascination of the night: Why can’t I take my eyes off Call The Cleaners (ITV)?
The sight of kitchens knee-deep in mouldy veg and crawling with insects ought to be repellent… but I’m agog.
This is the ultimate in ‘guilty pleasure’ telly.
Anne then wed Captain Mark Phillips, known to chums as Foggy, ‘because he was thick and wet’.
Paxman, who also played the official It’s A Royal Knockout board game against punk princess Toyah Willcox, might approve of the royals… but he’s no respecter of persons.
Martin Clunes was on much better behaviour.
Visiting the USA’s most far-flung outposts in Islands Of America (ITV), the star of Doc Martin shook hands, smiled and bowed with all the grace of a minor royal on walkabout.
As he inspected bubbling volcanoes in Hawaii and watched grizzly bears sporting in Alaskan streams, he kept murmuring, ‘Interesting!’ — one of Prince Charles’s favourite words, when he’s not sure what else to say.
Martin isn’t fond of tourists: ‘They disturb the tranquillity and wisdom of the place.’
But he stuck mostly to the tourist trail, was treated to a Native American dance and greeted a Hawaiian elder by rubbing noses.
He also thumbed through the world’s biggest collection of vintage beach Aloha shirts, 15,000 of them, in a variety of colours so lurid they could give a hummingbird migraine.
‘That’s like my granny’s wallpaper,’ he said, holding one up approvingly.
This was more holiday than travelogue.
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