What are the Royal Family for? As an anachronistic reminder of our forelock-tugging, hierarchy-beholden, deferential past, they’re about as welcome in modern Britain as the sticky can of Stella you find hiding behind the sofa six months after the party. The sticky can of Stella won’t demand to be shuttled around the world in grand style with an endless supply of gin, either. As Londonist is always loathe to miss a chance to slag off the royals, clichéd, obvious and a bit mean though the activity is: To the barricades, comrades! Down with the anti-meritocratic monarchy! … But only after we’ve watched The Queen’s Sister (Sun 9pm C4), a based-on-real-and-possibly-not-so-real events, containing lots of mother’s ruin, and lesbian sex. Well, hinted-at lesbian sex. Oooh er, we wonder what the Virgin Queen would think of her descendant’s lifestyle; Mark Lawson offers a brilliant analysis of the Windsors’ relationship with TV here, with special reference to the depiction of Princess Margaret as a “bisexual nymphomaniac”. We’re sold.
On the subject of lesser-known scions of powerful families, Carol Thatcher is on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! (Mon 9pm ITV1, then all too depressingly often all bloody week). She gets many, many bonus points for not being her brother, ‘Sir’ Mark Thatcher, for whom the term ‘all-round bad egg’ seems to have been invented. TV Troll has never managed to get into IACGMOOH – it could be our rampant entomophobia, or minor celebrity-phobia, but it somehow never appealed. The sight of Ant’n'Dec is enough to bring any sensible viewer out in giant weeping sores, at any rate. Gurn, you little Geordie gobshites, gurn. Then spontaneously combust like Johnny Vegas in Bleak House, thanks. We’ll stick to the delightful Claudia on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two (Mon-Fri 6.30pm BBC2), and the utter bitchfest that X Factor (Sat 6.30pm/8.30pm ITV1) has become (Sharon in the red-head’s corner, Louis in the green leprechaun corner: FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT – while Simon looks on and smirks in his inimitable way). We haven’t forgotten the Maria incident, and now it has apparently come to light that she received twice as many votes as the sodding Conways. If the leaked figures are right, Shayne might not be such a hot favourite after all, as Andy has beaten him more often than not.
If you like your trashy reality TV to come with a veneer of worthiness, then Honey We’re Killing The Kids (Wed 7pm BBC1) should be perfect – watch as other people’s butterbaby crotch-spawn are digitally aged through the magic of science, and the parents promise through Katrinas of tears never to buy another tub of Ben & Jerry’s ever again. If you’re in search of a slug of masochism, and wish to be made to feel unworthy, then you must watch The View From River Cottage (Wed 8pm C4), and cry bitter tears as you realise you’ll never have the dedication needed to power-spray a cow’s stomach for three hours straight in order to turn it from ‘a rancid bag of shit’ to ‘a spooky chewy rubbery anemone-like mass that tastes of shit’, which is clearly far better. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a better person than you, and you know it. But really, who cares? Shove another M&S Millionaire’s Shortbread down your gullet and throw the wrapper at the screen and laugh, laugh, laugh.
This World: Death Metal Murders (Thur 9pm BBC2) sounds like must-see TV, far more so than IACGMOOH – it’s the story of Italian band Beasts Of Satan, although the title could easily refer to the pretty damn nasty Norwegian death metal murders, too. And people complain about Marilyn Manson? These guys would use him to open a portal to the 19th dimension to summon the spirit of Cthulhu before he could blink. There’s more ‘insight’ (if you’re a follower of Freud) into evil in Timewatch: Inside The Mind Of Adolf Hitler (Fri 9pm BBC2); during the war, a crack team of psychoanalysts were commissioned by the CIA to build up a psychological profile of Hitler, and concluded he never moved past the anal stage. More information than you needed to know? Possibly, but repellently fascinating nonetheless.
TV Troll has a confession to make. We were watching Big Brother’s Little Brother a while back, when Dermot interviewed a smartly-dressed woman who claimed to be spearheading a campaign to get Derek elected leader of the Conservative party. She paid for a plane to fly a banner over the house – remember? Well, we were fooled. She was actually taking part in Bamboozle: The Secret TV Game (Thur 11pm E4), a sort of meta-reality TV show where three people compete to see who can become the most ‘famous’. No, sadly, Jodie Marsh was not one of the contestants; nor was Abi Titmuss. In a case of TV eating itself, we’re confident the winner will have her own column in Hot Stars! before too long. Wouldn’t that be ironic?
Speaking of Dermot, he’s interviewing Mrs Ritchie this week (Madonna: Exclusive Interview – what an imaginative title!, Sun 11.05pm C4); other than that, it’s down to the usual suspects of Lost (Wed 10pm C4), Rome (Wed 9pm BBC2 – this week, our two favourite characters Pullo and Octavian get to meet, as the metal-skulled soldier is taken on as the arrogant little toerag’s tutor), and Peep Show (a magic mushroom party? It’s a surreal enough programme as it is …, Fri 10pm C4) to keep us entertained. What will we do when our stalwart triumvirate finish their runs? Why, we shall order this, and, when it arrives, refuse to leave the dungeon for however long it takes to watch all five series of the best sci-fi show ever, forsaking sleep and nourishment. Ahem. Altogether now: “It was the dawn of the third age of mankind, ten years after the Earth/Minbari war. The Babylon Project was a dream given form …”