*** DEBUG END ***

TV review: Charles R: The making of a monarch, The Mysterious Mr Lagerfeld, and Malpractice

05 May 2023

© British Pathé

A screengrab of the Prince of Wales in an interview with Pathé News in 1969, about his imminent investiture in Wales, shown in Charles R: The making of a monarch (BBC1, Sunday)

A screengrab of the Prince of Wales in an interview with Pathé News in 1969, about his imminent investiture in Wales, shown in Charles R: The making o...

BBC1 presented our Sovereign with a kind of animated photo album, charting his life through TV and family film clips (some of them previously unseen), accompanied by his own words, spoken — apart from those scenes depicting his infancy, obviously — at the actual time of filming.

Most of Charles R: The making of a monarch (Sunday) was entirely familiar — little more than a comforting reprise of what we are already fully aware of. A few elements provided additional material, but there was already quite enough to awaken the armchair psychologists among us. I was struck by how much the camera and the King’s own unwitting commentary revealed what a very sensitive little boy and youth he was, and how the schooling regime chosen for him — Gordonstoun, and Geelong, in Australia — was surely an enforced toughening-up far more damaging than the “character-building” to which he paid tribute in his own account.

As always, shots showing the massed long-lens cameras of the press and paparazzi, peering over every wall and through every hedge, are deeply shocking, causing us to wonder how any human can build a remotely balanced life when subject to such omnipresent attention, never sure whether the resulting images will illustrate gushing adulation or critical contempt.

How he said it revealed more (as it always does) than what he said. Encouragingly, tone and expression of voice seemed most fully connected with his inner self in the final, most recent snippet, as, struggling with grief but buoyed up by faith, he paid tribute to his recently departed mother, and pledged to assume her absolute service to nation and Commonwealth.

BBC2 offered a somewhat contrasting biography in The Mysterious Mr Lagerfeld (Wednesday of last week). This was not someone having to deal with playing an unasked-for part thrust on him from birth: here, Karl L. set out quite deliberately to create a stylised persona exotic enough to reinforce the unique identity of his couture designs; his brand of clothing was an extension of personal distinctiveness. The documentary’s central mystery is: exactly who is going to inherit his vast wealth? Or perhaps what will inherit, because the rumour is that he left everything to his cat, Choupette.

Malpractice, the new Sunday-evening drama series (ITV1, from 23 April), employs the over-familiar trope of an almost supernaturally talented and committed hero, whose brilliance supposedly justifies cutting a few corners with her profession’s tiresome rules, and who hides a dark secret that could utterly destroy her career.

Yet this presentation of the A & E doctor Lucinda Edwards and her carefully hidden drug dependence has a raw vitality that I find engaging and compelling. To fight off a malicious disciplinary process, she tells lie after lie — but, as she descends in the resulting vortex, her frantic efforts to uncover the truth reveal criminal depths far worse than her own failings.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Church Times Bookshop

Save money on books reviewed or featured in the Church Times. To get your reader discount:

> Click on the “Church Times Bookshop” link at the end of the review.

> Call 0845 017 6965 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5pm).

The reader discount is valid for two months after the review publication date. E&OE

Forthcoming Events


Church Times Month

March 2024

For the whole of March, Church Times is offering completely FREE online access, so you can share stories without a paywall.

We are also asking our readers to spread the news of the Church Times among their friends, acquaintances, and fellow churchgoers (and non-churchgoers).

Find out more


Keeping faith in Journalism: a Church Times Webinar

11 March 2024 | 6pm GMT

An expert panel discusses trust between the media and the public

Online Tickets available


Church Times/RSCM:

Festival of Faith and Music

26 - 28 April 2024

See the full programme on the festival website. 

Early bird tickets available


Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times


You are able to read this for FREE as part of Church Times Promotional Month, where for the whole of March, we are offering unlimited web access to the newspaper.

From next month to explore the Church Times website fully, you will need to sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers will return to only being able to read four articles for free each month.