From Posh Pawn to Posh Spawn

Forget Sunday and 60 Minutes — get ready for “dispatches from the frontline of privilege”.

TV One will premiere Inside Tatler on April 30, a three-part BBC2 documentary series about the magazine devoted to posh people’s pursuits.

It will air in HD 9.45 Saturdays 18 months after its UK run and should appeal to more than merely fans of Prime’s Life is Toff and The Auction House.

Tatler is Britain’s oldest magazine — it first published 300 years ago — and the series appears to be more affectionate than derisory, according to the likes of The Independent:

Last night’s “dispatches from the frontline of privilege” included Tatler’s style editor tripping around the Notting Hill branch of Poundland (“Wow! This place is completely brilliant!”) the revival of side-saddle horse racing (very Downton) and a visit to the 10th Earl of Glasgow’s family seat in Ayrshire. The Earl came across as intelligent and likable, as did pretty much everyone in this documentary.

The Telegraph also thought it a “fun and insightful” take on the inner workings of the glossy society magazine:

One wonders how many who tuned in last night were expecting a let’s-scoff-at-the-toffs-style show in the manner of The F—ing Fulfords. Instead, what we got was a far more interesting and surprisingly unslanted account of the cosy relationship between Tatler and the privileged set whose parties, rules of behaviour and tastes in fashion and interior décor it reflects and reinforces.

Quipped The Guardian:

The most openly damning sequence followed the style editor on an ironic shopping trip to Poundland. “David Cameron was here last week,” she grinned as she wondered excitedly what her £15 budget would get her. Editor Kate peered at the spoils on the office floor with her hand over her mouth, as if the cat had just brought in a dead bird. They all seemed like nice people but what they represented was a revolting, self-serving waste of everyone’s time and money.

Among the highlights Glamour magazine identified in the “did not disappoint” premiere:

Getting a birdseye view of a Tatler features meeting – especially when it concerns a dress up Duchess of Cambridge doll, the important matter of contacting Prince Charles about his alpacas or understanding the nuances between what typifies old/new Town Vs Country types (including what they drink, where they party and what type of dog they own).

But The Arts Desk cringed at the swanky shenanigans:

Posh People: Inside Tatler was the kind of frothy telly that Channel 5 loves to commission, but instead we found it on primetime BBC. Entertaining enough in its way, but it was about as vapid as its subject – which was rather more about the magazine than it was about “posh people” … And it goes on for another tedious two episodes. This felt more like advertising than fly-on-the-wall. The whole thing gave me the creeps.

In the UK ratings, Inside Tatler was neck-and-neck with, ironically, a Channel 4 series about the impoverished, Skint, with both drawing about 1.5 million viewers:

The Channel 4 show about life for families on or below the poverty line had a slightly higher share of viewing in the 9pm head to head – 6.2% to 6.1% – suggesting it was ahead by a nose on audience before the figures were rounded up or down.

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