TV review - Royal Paintbox (ITV) was a show of painterly competence not brilliance

The Mindy Project, E4

You could have predicted quite a lot of things about Royal Paintbox, Margy Kinmonth's film about the long tradition of monarchical artistic dabbling before seeing it, but I'm willing to bet that nobody would have guessed that it would contain an allusion to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.

Visits to royal archives, yes. Prince Charles chuckling self-deprecatingly about the quality of his watercolours, that too. Even, perhaps, the light wash of polemic about art education, given that the Prince isn't loath to mount that particular hobby horse when the opportunity presents. But a child's tricycle tracking shot, just like the one that trundles Danny through the corridors of the Overlook Hotel? That's a long shot, surely, in more than one sense of those words.

The Danny-cam view was summoned up by Prince Charles's memories of early life in Windsor and Buckingham Palace, pedalling through the state rooms, oblivious to the great art hung on every wall. And then "suddenly when I was 14 or so the pictures came into focus". That was one explanation, he implied, for his own interest in painting. The other explanation (and it's bound to appeal to someone whose entire life has been shaped by the hereditary principle) was genetics, the British royal line having been surprisingly rich in artistic hobbyists. Even Her Majesty had a go, when she was little, producing a perfectly creditable linocut of a circus horse. And Prince Philip, whose dreadful oil painting of the Queen having breakfast was one of the earlier exhibits here.

Most royals were a bit more deft with a brush, though their ability, it struck you more than once, was a relative thing. Royal artistic talent, like the royal sense of humour, depends less on the quality of the eventual product (whether they're jokes or watercolours) than on the fact that you never really expected a lot in the first place. Prince Rupert of the Rhine seems to have been genuinely skilled, helping to develop the art of the mezzotint, and Princess Louise could surely have made a go of it as a Victorian portrait sculptor if protocol had permitted, but in most other cases it was competence not brilliance that was on show here.

That told its own story though, and one that I suspect was congenial to Prince Charles. Because until the last century the ability to draw and paint was expected of anyone of reasonably privileged background. So Victoria could turn her hand to charming little watercolours of her children and Prince Louis of Battenberg earned a bit of pocket money by supplying pictures to The Illustrated London News while on a royal tour of India.

And lots of the royal children would have been required to achieve a basic proficiency with pencil and brush. It makes a kind of sense, surely. Nobody pushes a violin at a child and says, "Just express yourself." I wasn't entirely convinced, as the programme claimed, that we'd "discovered another side to the Prince of Wales" (though there was something poignant about his longing to leave some personal impression of his soul behind him, as if his pre-booked place in the history books could never be fully earned). But I was a little surprised to find myself agreeing with him about the value of learning to draw.

Somebody recommended The Mindy Project to me, so I took a look and now I find myself in an unmade Seinfeld episode... the one in which one of Jerry's friends raves about a new sitcom and insists he watches it and then he has to find a tactful way to describe his reactions, without blowing the friendship. What can I say that will pass? It's perky, I guess, if you don't mind that (I do... actually). Oh... and I laughed at the production company final credit, which has a peremptory voice saying "Go to bed". Very funny that last bit.

A scheduling confusion resulted in us publishing a review of next Monday's 'The Prisoners' in yesterday's television column. We apologise for any inconvenience.

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