Catch up TV review: The Windsors, Britain’s Great Gay Buildings, Dunkirk: The New Evidence
Ivan Radford | On 09, Jul 2017
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(For BBC TV reviews and round-ups, see our weekly Best of BBC iPlayer column. Or for reviews of the shows on All 4’s Walter Presents, click here.)
The Windsors (All 4)
Why do we have a Royal Family in England? If you’ve ever asked yourself that question, then The Windsors is the show for you. If that sounds like an insightful piece of social commentary, though, check your expectations: Bert Tyler-Moore and George Jeffrie’s series gives up any pretence of in-depth national debate and instead goes straight for your funny bone, piling up one relentlessly silly scenario after another. It’s gloriously lowbrow nonsense, which is too far removed from reality to cause offence for Royalists, but irreverent enough to delight their critics. The show’s simple premises reimagines the whole monarchy as blithering idiots, from the power-hungry Camilla to the jealous Pippa Middleton. Hugh Skinner continues to steal the show as a hilarious, simpering Prince William (“Call me Wills”), as he tries to be a man of the people and a hands-on dad, only to fail at both. He faces stiff competition, though, from the addition of Gillian Bevan as PM Theresa May, who walks through the corridors of Buckingham Palace like a school teacher gone wrong. Why do we have a Royal Family in England? Whether you think they’re as irrelevant and pointless as the writers suggest or not, there’s one answer we can all agree on: so that The Windsors can exist.
Britain’s Great Gay Buildings (All 4)
How can a building be gay? Stephen Fry immediately sets about trying to answer that question in the opening minutes of this Channel 4 documentary, a hasty attempt to earn the programme’s deliberately grand title. And you know what? It works. Fry uses the architectural landmarks that we all know – or, in the case of some nightclubs and pubs, don’t – as a novel framework to chart the changing attitudes in Britain towards homosexuality, all the way to a moving climax in the Houses of Parliament, where we hear of how one MP came out in front of his peers, before Prime Minister Tony Blair overrode the House of Lords in 2000 to reduce the gay age of consent from 18 to 16. A reminder that people are part of what make buildings important, this is the epitome of popular history done right.
Dunkirk: The New Evidence (All 4)
Only the British could turn a defeat into a victory, notes one expert in this documentary about the military disaster that led to the iconic evacuation of Allied soldier from the French coast in 1940. With Christopher Nolan about to bring the tale of how hundreds of normal boats sailed to bring our boys home to the big screen, the chance to familiarise oneself with the historical events is welcome, but it’s also visually staggering – new evidence about the role the RAF played in the rescue or no, the way the film brings the photos of events to life is jaw-droppingly vivid.