Critical Condition: The Windsors

The Windsors (TVNZ 1, 8.35 Thursdays)

“Channel 4’s extremely rude cartoonish soap opera about the royal family starts tonight. And my goodness is it rude. The opening two episodes imagine our royal family as irredeemably stupid, lazy, self-indulgent and so absurdly posh that they can’t even pronounce the wordy ‘gyspy’ correctly … It really evokes the glory days of Spitting Image-style satire. But I can’t help detecting a very politically subversive subtext to this that feels quite deliciously shocking.” — Radio Times.

“OK, so the show’s not saying anything new. But it is saying it with a new joy: this is caricature to the max … Hilarious performances all over the place, including from Harry Enfield, who does a lovely deluded old fool. Give that man a knighthood. Actually, my favourite characters are Fergie’s girls, Beatrice and Eugenie (played by Ellie White and Celeste Dring), a couple of useless Sloanes searching for purpose on the fringes of the family. Until they get radicalised, that is.” — The Guardian.

The Windsors was low-budget, crude and rude. But it was all done with such cacophonous relish that resistance was useless. There’s not much of this kind of punk comedy around on television at the moment, where deep, mordant, The Office-style irony has long been the dominant mode. But who doesn’t like a little mischief? You can be a fan of Beethoven and the Buzzcocks too.” — The Telegraph.

The Windsors takes a look at history in the making, with a sort of soap-opera parody of the royal family. In this world, Camilla is seething over the popularity of the young royals; Kate and Pippa Middleton are from a family of gypsies and Fergie is just excited about being recognised, even though ‘they thought I was Mick Hucknall’. Yep, subtle certainly isn’t the watchword here and I’m guessing royalists won’t be tuning in.  But I actually enjoyed this silly, but colourful parade of caricatures.” — The Dominion Post.

“I suppose if you’ve just got back from the pub, this juvenile tosh might just about make you smile. But there’s no royal ribbing here that wasn’t done way better by the original Spitting Image three decades ago. Progress? What progress? As satire goes, this deliberate attempt to test the boundaries of taste is at the pile-driver end of the market.” — The Sun.

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