What TV did the Queen watch? From Downton Abbey to Pointless

Royal once reportedly said: ‘I don’t like “The Bill” but I just can’t help watching it’

Isobel Lewis
Tuesday 20 September 2022 09:14 BST
Moment MPs received notes about Queen's health

Queen Elizabeth II lived a remarkable life – but not everyone knows she made time to watch TV too.

The Royal Family announced that the Queen died peacefully at Balmoral on 8 September, aged 96.

In the wake of her death, fans are remembering the Queen’s rather eclectic taste in television.

According to reports, the Queen received selected shows from the BBC, who would occasionally add in unrequested items they thought she may enjoy.

Other reports have suggested that she once asked that a Doctor Who DVD box set be sent to Balmoral, and that she told actor Peter Sallis that she loved Last of the Summer Wine.

She also visited the set of EastEnders in 2001.

It would seem that even royals aren’t above a hate-watch either, as she is said to have once commented on police procedural series The Bill: “I don’t like The Bill but I just can’t help watching it.”

Read below for five of the Queen’s favourite TV shows over the years.


Armstrong has been told the royal is a ‘Pointless’ fan
Armstrong has been told the royal is a ‘Pointless’ fan (BBC/Remarkable Television/Matt Frost)

Rumours have long suggested that the Queen enjoyed watching the TV during her afternoon tea, with BBC One quiz show Pointless being one of her rumoured shows of choice.

Presenter Alexander Armstrong said in 2017 that a “palace insider” told him the royal first stumbled upon the show in the 2010s and became quickly hooked.

“A palace insider told us that she watches it,” he said while promoting the show’s 1,000th episode.

The Kumars at No 42

In the early Noughties, Queen Elizabeth was reportedly a fan of BBC sitcom The Kumars at No 42.

In February, journalist Phil Jones wrote in The New Statesman that the royal told him in 2001 that she was a fan of the comedy about a British-Indian family.

Not only this, but the Queen went on to recite some one-liners said by Meera Syal’s character.

Jones joked that he was told at the time to keep the conversation a secret “on pain of death” as “journalists should never reveal their conversations with the monarch”.

Strictly Come Dancing

Charles and Camilla on the set of 'EastEnders’
Charles and Camilla on the set of 'EastEnders’ (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

During a trip to the EastEnders set for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee earlier this year, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall met actor and reigning Strictly champion Rose Ayling-Ellis.

During their conversation, Ayling-Ellis, who is deaf, asked Camilla: “Can I ask you, does the Queen watch Strictly Come Dancing?”

The Duchess replied: “I think she does. She probably watched you.”

Downton Abbey

It has previously been reported that the Queen is a fan of Downton Abbey.

According to Brian Hoey, the author of At Home With The Queen, the monarch would watch the show when it aired from 2011 to 2018 and “point out things they have got wrong, partly because she is familiar with Highclere Castle, where it is filmed”.

The castle used to be the residence of Lord Porchester, or “Porchie”, a close friend of the Queen.

Antiques Roadshow

Fiona Bruce on ‘Antiques Roadshow'
Fiona Bruce on ‘Antiques Roadshow' (Antiques Roadshow/ BBC Studios/Robert Pereira Hind)

In 2014, Queen Elizabeth met with experts from the Antiques Roadshow at Hillsborough Castle, her official residence in Northern Ireland.

Expert Hilary Kay told the Queen about a christening cup which is thought to be linked to her late maternal aunt.

The late Duke of Edinburgh is reported to have asked Fiona Bruce when the episode would be broadcast.

The Queen then turned around from signing the visitors’ book and said: “If it is in August then even better because we might have a chance to see it.”

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