Countryfile: A Royal Appointment: Prince Charles wants to be just one of the farm lads, really

2.00

Last Night's TV; BBC1

If you had to work out what Prince Charles was for, and the only evidence available was Countryfile: a Royal Appointment, you might conclude that he was some kind of revered national entertainer, so beloved by the people for his geniality that he was addressed with deference wherever he went. You’d guess he was reaching the end of his career, given his age, but also that it had been exceptionally good to him, given how much of Gloucestershire he now appeared to own. But comedy would definitely be at the heart of the thing.

Last night’s special edition of the BBC’s rural affairs magazine programme, guest edited by the Prince, even opened with a montage of his regal chuckles – a selection of chortles and guffaws and even one of those curiously articulated laughs in which the amused party wheezes out the words “hee hee”. Evidence of actual wit was more mixed.

When John Craven asked him whether he was a regular viewer of the programme, he replied: “You might very well think so, John. I couldn’t possibly comment.” The line wasn’t actually funny, but in keeping with established royal protocol it earned a deferential snicker anyway.

This is one facet of modern royal duty, of course: to be “just like one of us”, and Prince Charles is as practised at it as any member of the Royal Family. He can do the dispensation of inherited wisdom, talking of how important it is to work in “harmony with nature”. But he seems to understand that being regally blokey is what will render the homilies about organic farming and the countryside palatable to a wider audience.

Countryfile knows the part it has to play in fostering this illusion. “The perfect place for three farm boys to get together for a chat,” said Matt Baker at one point, introducing a sequence in which he, Charles and Adam Henson chewed the fat about rare breeds. A little later, when Ellie Harrison joined the heir to the throne on a visit to an Upper Teesside hill farm, even his capacity to change his footwear just like one of his subjects attracted notice: “In seconds the Prince has exchanged shoes for wellies and is hiking up the hill,” she said. Wellies. Think of that.

Still, it’s not the Prince’s fault that he lowers broadcasters’ IQs simply by appearing in front of them. And you can’t really blame him either for the dullness of this special edition of the programme. I had secretly hoped he would indulge some of his more fringe enthusiasms – homeopathy for cows, say.

But instead he focused largely on bucolic good causes, with reports on a charity which helps Teesside farmers get through the bad times, improving access to the countryside for disabled visitors, and schemes to educate inner-city schoolboys about the origin of their food. Oh, and a bit of living wickerwork, because “when he is at home the Prince likes nothing more than a spot of hedge-laying”. He’s just that kind of bloke.

Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam