Friday, April 30, 2021

Season 26 - A Royal Scandal (1996-1997)

I am delighted that this gem of a show is available on DVD, albeit as an extra on the DVD release of the far inferior The Queen's Sister, which ironically aired on a rival station to PBS, BBC America. This production in just an hour gives an insightful and oftentimes hilarious look into the marriage of George IV, AKA Prinny, and Caroline of Brunswick. To say theirs was not a love match would be understating it. But what is amazing about this little glimpse into royal life during the Regency Era is that all the vitriol spewed back and forth showing them as nothing more than children was taken from what they actually said. They seriously said this!?! I'm horrified to think of what Prinny on Twitter would be like. Note to self, I want to see the Prince Regent on Twitter as a parody account. Seriously, why isn't this a thing!?! All I had remembered of A Royal Scandal was the interesting framing device of a narrator and the brilliance of Richard E. Grant as Prinny and Susan Lynch as Caroline evilly glaring at each other while on a very nice black and white tiled floor. Obviously hinting at the combative chess-like nature of their marriage. So for your edification and mine I rewatched it. I was blown away by who they got as the supporting cast! And I didn't even remember there was a supporting cast! Michael Kitchen, Frances Barber, Denis Lawson, Oliver Ford Davies, and Ian Freakin' Richardson as the pitch perfect narrator! This cast was more than one could hope for, how did I forget them!?! The subtlety of Michael Kitchen facing the opprobrium of Prinny's rage and just replying that he was sent to set up a marriage not weigh in on the suitability of the match. Perfection! Oh, and my favorite scene by far is when Caroline arrives in England and is greeted by her husband's mistress, Lady Jersey! There's a real repressed British cat fight about Caroline's dress and in particular her hat. Caroline wins on the point of her hat! She LOVES that hat! It has been said of Lady Jersey that she possessed "a heady mix of charm, beauty, and sarcasm" and I really can't think of a better way to describe this little glimpse at royal life, come for the charming sarcasm!


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