What ho! It's here, my dears – The Royals (Sunday, E! Canada, 10 p.m.). Yes, by George it is here. And it is possibly the worst TV drama in the history of the English-speaking peoples. Obviously, I cannot speak for the history of other-speaking peoples. I have enough to deal with here.
And in saying it is the worst, I do not mean merely that it's so bad it's good. Nothing so mundane could do justice to this deranged, utterly unglued trash about a fictional English Royal Family. It is not a train wreck. It careens spectacularly from delicious camp trash to hopeless amateurism to wicked satire. Me, I was gob-smacked by the idiocy of it and then howling with laughter at some bits of clever comedy. Like I said, it's unglued.
Allow me to explain. The theme music is Sympathy for the Devil, which is a clue, but I'm not sure to what, exactly. Enter the Queen (Elizabeth Hurley, at her hair-swinging, glaring, posh mall-rat best) followed by servants. One servant says: "Oh, Sir Elton John would like to pop around and say hello." The Queen sighs and replies: "Pop around and say hello? You give someone a title and they treat the place like it's a Starbucks."
Then, in some university pub, Prince Liam (yes, "Liam," a bit Irishy. As if) is drinking beer and playing darts. Next thing, he's got a popsy up against the wall with his royal hands roaming everywhere. Meanwhile, we are transported to a noisy nightclub where Princess Eleanor (played by Alexandra Park as a leggy brunette who is both an underwear-denier and has a serious mascara fetish) is doing coke in the toilet and dancing on a table.
The next morning at the Palace, the Queen (her name is Helena, but it doesn't matter, the reference might well be to Helena Rubinstein) is surveying the tabloid coverage of Eleanor's night out. She goes all, "My daughter! Behaving like a common whore!" Back at the university, Prince Liam (William Moseley) wakes up with his head resting on the popsy's bum. We get a spectacular view of the royal head and the bum.
Wait, wait! There's bad news! Worse than Eleanor being revealed as an underwear-denier. Somebody's dead. It's Liam's brother, Prince Robert. The Queen struggles to be moved by this. The Royals gather. There's a conversation about syphilis, which is distracting. Who the bloody hell has syphilis? And it turns out the popsy is named Ophelia and is the daughter of the head of royal security! Blimey. There follows a funeral scene, which is easily the most idiotic segment of drama ever made for television.
And then … there's a dinner scene that is riotously funny. Deliberately, too. Socialites Gemma (Sophie Colquhoun), Liam's dim ex-girlfriend, and Princess Maribel (Hatty Preston) are present. They are a Greek chorus of air-headed posh nonsense. Thick as planks, but hilarious.
As it happens, they fear Prince Robert's death means a change in status. They fear being "like Americans." One says, horrified: "I don't want to be American! I don't want to be like Justin Bieber going round with his trousers falling down." The Queen snaps: "He's Canadian!" The reply is: "That's worse!" And this lamentation continues: "They can't make us Canadian, can they Daddy? They can't make us like Justin Bieber, all Canadian and poor, like Justin Bieber?"
At this point, we are into AbFab territory, a clanger of a shift in tone from the deranged homage to Dynasty that preceded the scene. It appears the writers and director went to a pub while some actors took The Royals hostage and made it knowingly satiric. I've never seen anything like it. And neither have you.
The Royals is grand, grotesque trash. It's the first scripted series made by E!, the channel that made the Kardashians what they are today, whatever that is. In later episodes, Joan Collins turns up to play the Queen's mom. What I said, my dears – utterly unglued trash. Enjoy.
Also airing this weekend
The 2015 Juno Awards (Sunday, CTV, 7 p.m.) is hosted by Hedley front man Jacob Hoggard, and includes the inducting of Alanis Morissette into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Performers include Morissette, Arkells, Bobby Bazini, deadmau5, Hedley, Kiesza, Lights, Sam Roberts Band, Shawn Mendes, and the Weeknd. Always fun, the Juno Awards, no matter your taste in music.
David Beckham: Into the Unknown (Sunday, documentary channel 9 p.m.) is a curiosity. Beckham, on retirement from soccer, decided to go far into the Amazon rainforest, accompanied by three pals. By motorbike and boat they wander and Beckham clearly enjoys the freedom and anonymity. He's not the most articulate guide. Everything is "amazin'." Mind you, his pals make fun of him for being slow-witted and he takes it in good humour. The scenes of him with Victoria and the family, at the beginning, are rather sweet.