The Royal Family have always been an easy target for ridicule. Shows such as Spitting Image and 2DTV has poked fun at the very point of their existence, but never before have we had a full-blown sitcom parodying the everyday lives of Britain’s first family.
In their latest venture, The Windsors, George Jeffrie and Bert Tyler-Moore, the guys behind other satirical venture such as the wonderful Star Stories and the not-so-wonderful Newzoids, take us behind the scenes for a look at the Royals as we have never seen them before.
The Windsors introduces us to larger-than-life interpretations of each member of the family; Wills (Hugh Skinner) is a well-meaning daddy’s boy trying to be a normal bloke and a good father, despite being oblivious to the fact that he’s the only parent in the park to have an entourage. Kate (Louise Ford), meanwhile is perpetually trying to hide her gypsy roots as she comes head-to-head with the evil schemes of the power-hungry Camila (Haydn Gwynne) and scarily traditionalist Anne (an absolutely hilarious Vicki Pepperdine). Pippa Middleton (Morgana Robinson) will stop at nothing to become a princess, luring the utterly incompetent Harry (Richard Goulding) into an increasingly preposterous series of honeytraps. Charles (a great turn from Harry Enfield), suitably, is just a bumbling old fart determined to declare war on Europe and take his rightful place as king.
The real stars, however, are Matthew Cottle as Prince Edward, portrayed as a penniless odd-job man, and Celeste Dring and Ellie White as Beatrice and Eugenie, whose attempts at fame beyond the family range from internet stardom to motivational speakers. The scene in which they attempt to teach a Welsh steelworks the benefits of Instagram is certainly one of the series’ highlights.
The Windsors is a well-crafted collection of amusing impressions in a series of absurd situations, and while on occasion it does touch upon political satire; there are sporadic mentions of the futility of the Royals in the modern age, and a brief sojourn into the “Wills for King” campaign, it never quite reaches the nuance or intelligence achieved by Sue Townsend’s The Queen and I, a book that one cannot help but draw comparisons to whilst binging the show.
That said, it’s still great fun, and there are some real laugh-out-loud moments throughout. Every member of the cast throws themselves in completely, and Enfield’s portrayal of Charles is cringingly accurate. The addition of the retired Prince Phillip as a Maris Crane-like figure, communicating only though hilariously offensive telegrams, is a touch of pure genius.
Whether a royalist or a staunch believer in the uselessness of the Windsors, there are a good few giggles to be had here. Switch your brain off, make a cup of tea and enjoy.
And don’t forget the organic shortbread.
The Windsors: Complete Series One and Two & Christmas Special is out now on DVD courtesy of Acorn Media.
Dir: Adam Miller
Prd: Izzy Mant
Scr: George Jeffrie, Bert Taylor-Moore
Starring: Celeste Dring, Louise Ford, Richard Goulding, Morgana Robinson, Hugh Skinner, Ellie White, Haydn Gwynne, Harry Enfield, Katy Wix, Matthew Cottle
Episode Run Time: 30mins
No. of Episodes: 13