TV review - Fit to Rule: How Royal Illness Changed History, BBC
Fit to Rule: How Royal Illness Changed History had a fairly interesting premise: that it wasn't the power and strength of our monarchs that determined British history so much as their frailties. "I'm going to reveal the chinks in the royal armour," promised Lucy Worsley, chief curator at the Historic Royal Palaces.
And she started well enough, with a Tudor pisspot that had been recovered from a Hampton Court archaeological dig, which provided the focus for a discussion of Henry VIII's waterworks – the regal urine being checked daily for signs of disturbance. And with Henry, the argument that individual physiology might have national effects was on pretty solid ground, the King's ability to sow the seeds of his own dynasty being a legitimate matter of court gossip.
But as the programme continued it turned into a far more straightforward narrative of court history – briefly touching on the accidents of illness and bodily frailty but not really offering much in the way of medical revelation. And in some cases the definition of "royal illness" seemed worryingly broad. I guess that the Jacobeans might have thought of James I's homosexuality as a disorder, but I'm assuming Worsley doesn't, however instrumental it was in the affairs of state.
She seemed a bit vague about some of her evidence too. The orthopaedic boots she inspected in the Museum of London had always been "associated" with Charles I, she said cautiously. Michael Gove will approve of the sturdy kings and queens chronology. Other viewers might hope for a few more medical case notes in future programmes.
For this slot Tom Sutcliffe also wrote a review of BBC1's 'The Prisoners', due to be broadcast last night but postponed because of the death of Margaret Thatcher
There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turningTV
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
- 3 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 4 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 5 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since TV series ended in 2004
Downton Abbey series 5, episode 1, ITV, review: There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning
Friends 20th anniversary: Six things we wouldn't have without influential comedy series
New Tricks: Dennis Waterman to leave drama after a decade of crime-solving
Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'