Netflix UK TV review: The Windsors Christmas special
Ivan Radford | On 30, Dec 2016
After Netflix’s The Crown, you’d think that no one could hope to match its depiction of the royal family on screen this year. You’d be wrong. The Windsors returns for a Christmas special and rather than dial things down for a respectful festive tribute, or attempt to find common ground in a country divided by Brexit, Channel 4’s comedy turns everything up to 11. And it’s all the funnier for it.
More a cartoon than a live-action programme, despite it being entirely performed by real people, its absurd take on the Windsors couldn’t be more disconnected from the truth. Haydn Gwynne’s Camilla has turned into Lady Macbeth, plotting to sabotage the seasonal holiday and push Kate into a mental breakdown. Richard Goulding’s Prince Harry is busy falling for Ellie Goulding, all vegetarian goodwill and hair-tossing smiles, much to the displeasure of Morgana Robinson’s hilariously scowling Pippa. And Harry Enfield’s Charles manages to turn his bumbling attempt at a Christmas Speech into an accidental declaration war upon the EU.
Yes, there are Brexit references and jokes about Nigel Farage, not to mention constant nods to the Windsors’ Germanic roots, but this isn’t a comedy rooted in satire: this is an out-and-out farce and it only gets more and more ridiculous. At the heart of that escalating silliness is Hugh Skinner’s Wills, who simpers and tries to be a man of the people with a dimwittedness that’s equal parts amusing and adorable. Add in tinsel fights, cookery fails and Princess Anne appearing every five minutes like the ghost of Miss Haversham and you have an inspiredly daft hour of telly that will have you giggling in spite of yourself.
The Windsors: Season 1 and 2 is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.