Channel 5 has become a bit of a hidden gem – amongst the benefits and beauty queens, we have Michael Palin in North Korea, Britain’s Favourite Chocolate- something for all tastes! This two-part ‘PAXMAN ON THE QUEEN'S CHILDREN’ is gossipy but not exploitative.

In a classic Jeremy Paxman quip, he says that he used to be believe that Britain should be a Republic but after interviewing so many people climbing the greasy pole of Politics, he believes the country shouldn’t be represented by those who actually want the job. With the televising of the Queen’s coronation, her children were the first royals to become modern celebrities, with their personal lives splashed across tabloids or broadcast in ‘Royal Family’, a documentary buried in the vaults of the BBC.


In case you didn’t know Paxman went to Cambridge, he mentions that he was a first year at the same time as Charles was a third year. Poor Charles- in Paxman’s words, Charles was ‘not particularly talented’ and entered Cambridge ‘armed with his 2 A-Levels’. The control of the monarchy was so strong that the college dean selected all Charles’ friends.

It’s quite interesting to think that Anne had the freedom to marry someone of her choice whereas Charles is forced to go with the monarchy’s pick. Paxman gently mocks whilst showing sympathy that Charles’ life was ‘programmed’ (quoting Charles’ own words).

We are also ‘’treated’ to a snippet of a young Coleen Nolan’s only solo song- an ode to Prince Andrew- ‘Andy’. The lyrics are on screen should you wish to sing along:.”I like your mother/She’s really cute” (no, that really is how the song begins).

Paxman raises an eye at the thought of Andrew being a teen pin-up. But at the time, the papers dubbed Andrew ‘Randy Andy’. Randy Andy’s involvement with an American actress was a little less successful than his nephew Harry’s.

We get a good sense of each child- Charles the loner, Anne the sportswoman, Andrew the lover and Edward the showbiz fan (he managed to wangle a production assistant job at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production company, Really Useful Group). We have him to thank for this.

Naturally none of the royals appear on the programme but Paxman does admonish a former press secretary to the Royals for covering up the fact that there were cracks in Charles and Diana’s ‘fairytale’ marriage.

No earth-shattering revelations so royal experts might feel short-changed, but this irreverent take on monarchy beats stuffy sycophancy.

- Watched on Channel 5. 05/02/2019