Television Review

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The Independent Culture
"PHILIP GAVE me the impression of being a huge hungry dog who'd never had a basket of his own and responded to every overture with eager tail-wagging," his cousin Alexandra said in The Real Prince Philip (C4). It was certainly true about the basket. The Greek royal family had been exiled by the Turks in 1921, when Philip was barely a puppy, and his family had spent his childhood trotting around Europe looking for somewhere regal to bed down.

The film was comprehen-sive in its analysis of Philip's Germanic ancestry and connections, revealing that Philip of Greece could more pro- perly be addressed as Philip Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg.

As the first half of the biography wound up, there was a delightful cut. A chap from the Maltese Times told a story about the time that the former Herr Schleswig- Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg lost his temper during a photo-call. "Now look here, Philip," Elizabeth reportedly hissed, "they're doing a job. You married me and you'd better get used to it." Footage showed Philip following Elizabeth up the steps onto a Royal Navy ship, frozen in mid-salute behind his wife.

The second episode of Money Money Money (BBC1) also centred on the subject of an improperly swift introduction to wealth. Two of the programme's three segments were predictable millionaires' hard-luck stories, which confirmed that jealous neighbours, large television sets and newly acquired wives - who foresake promising careers in lap-dancing to go shopping with the winnings - are peripheral to most lottery wins.

The first film, however, was a beauty. It concerned Gary Gray, a 27-year- old cleaner from Hove, who was so frustrated that he hadn't won the pounds 14.6m lottery jackpot that he tricked his friends into believing that he had. One felt sorry for Gary, of course. Here was someone evidently so lacking in approval and attention that he'd risk losing the people who provided it, including his best mate, Dale, to whom he'd promised pounds 1m if ever he won.

A series of entertaining reconstructions used the actual people involved rather than actors. The best of these showed Gary sitting at home on his sofa, in his socks, stuffing his face with three boxes of cream cakes. Two of the cakes were coated with chocolate, and had been baked in the shape of a hedgehog. Whether this had been done in Gary's honour it didn't say. Half of his face was plastered in cream - in preparation, presumably, for when he told the truth later and it was covered in egg.

Then there was Toni, Dale's girlfriend. She, too, was upset when it emerged that Gary had been lying about his lottery win. After hearing about her third-hand good fortune, she'd been "straight on the phone to me parents. I said `Look, Mum, you can have whatever you want'. She'd always wanted a Porsche." Watching the programme for the second time, I realised that what Toni's mum had, in fact, wanted was a porch. Which somehow made it even more tragic.

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