The Queen’s Lost Family
As a cub reporter, aeons ago, it was my job to interview couples in the Vale of Evesham on their golden wedding anniversaries and beg them to disclose the secret of their happy marriage.
If you don’t want to wait 50 years, I’ll tell you now: the key is a foolproof system of silent signals to prevent a husband from doing anything stupid.
The simplest, and the one my wife uses on me, is a tap on the shoulder. If I’m talking too much, or about to buy something I shouldn’t, or on the brink of any other blunder, I get two firm pats on the clavicle. Signal received: shut up.
The show can get stale quickly if every pitch either succeeds or collapses. We need the added excitement of a third possibility, the meltdown — and this time it came from a former pub landlord called Paul who made his entrance with a heavy metal band, to promote a brand of spiced rum
Young marrieds Jack and Aneisha had not perfected the technique before they appeared on Dragons’ Den (BBC2) and it cost them dear. A jab to the upper arm might have prevented Jack from blowing £60,000.
The couple were trying to raise funding for their posh pet food business, Scrumbles, after sinking £130,000 of their own cash in to the venture.
They’d brought their little dog, who gloried in the name Smudgy Whitesocks, to win the Dragons over, and it all seemed to be going so well.
After a long interrogation, Deborah Meaden, well-known for her love of animals, was ready to invest her 60 grand. But when Deborah did what the bank-rollers always do on this show, and demanded a bigger slice of the business, Jack turned her down.
As the couple left empty-handed, Aneisha was reeling. ‘I’m a little bit speechless,’ she whispered. ‘I thought you were going to say yes.’
‘Those secret signals,’ Jack admitted, ‘they didn’t quite work.’
Take it from me, subtle signs and tactful hints never do. What we chaps require, to stop us from putting a hoof in it, is a good solid whack on the shoulder.
Miscommunications aside, this was a solid return for a format that looked all but exhausted two years ago.
A selection of intriguing products were on offer — such as tanning cream with built-in sun protection, which seems so obvious it’s a marvel no one has thought of it before.
After a long interrogation, Deborah Meaden, well-known for her love of animals, was ready to invest her 60 grand. But when Deborah did what the bank-rollers always do on this show, and demanded a bigger slice of the business, Jack turned her down
The show can get stale quickly if every pitch either succeeds or collapses. We need the added excitement of a third possibility, the meltdown — and this time it came from a former pub landlord called Paul who made his entrance with a heavy metal band, to promote a brand of spiced rum.
Paul proved to have a rock star’s touchiness, too, and got so stroppy with the Dragons that he practically called them a load of preening show-offs with egos as big as their bank balances. Which they are, of course. But it doesn’t do to say so.
All this fun made up for the disappointment of The Queen’s Lost Family (C4).
The first in a three-part history series, it promised to reveal Her Majesty’s regal aunts and uncles in a whole new light, thanks to a cache of deeply personal letters that have been unseen for 90 years.
The correspondence belonged to Princess Mary, the younger sister of Edward VIII and the Queen’s father, George VI. Sadly most of it was duller than garden party small-talk.
The documentary focused on petty scandals (such as another uncle’s penchant for nightclubs and guardsmen) while shedding no fresh light on the really interesting stuff.
Passages highlighted in the letters suggested, for instance, that Edward VIII, when he was Prince of Wales, had little time for the problems of the working classes.
Since he would later become a big fan of Adolf Hitler, that’s hardly a surprise.
Wrong turn of the weekend: We love Poldark (BBC1) for its clifftop gallops and wild Cornish seas. When Master Ross departs for London, as he has done yet again, the serial loses all its romance. Forget the boring capital, bring our Cap’n home.