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Cat fight between Camilla and William “distasteful”

New BBC2 drama King Charles III portrays a British Royal Family descending into chaos following the ascension of Prince Charles to the throne. Adapted from Mike Bartlett’s West End and Broadway hit of the same name, the show features a full-blown constitutional crisis and an appearance by the ghost of Diana, Princess of Wales.

The show – which the BBC has stressed is complete fiction – opens as the Royal Family gather at the funeral of Her Majesty The Queen and portrays Charles and William in conflict, with the Duchess of Cambridge as a manipulative, almost Lady Macbeth-like, presence.

A scene showing “Camilla” slapping “William” has already provoked backlash with Tory MP Andrew Bridgen telling the Mail on Sunday that it is “unfortunate the BBC would seek to promote this flight of fantasy, which many licence-fee payers will find distasteful and which I believe denigrates and undermines our royal family. I hope that the BBC will make clear that the production is pure fiction.”

Rupert Goold, the show’s Olivier award-winning director, spoke about the challenges of a production like this, telling the Radio Times, “Given what things could have been like, the BBC was very good… And you have to remember that even with the stage version, we’d been through long conversations with lawyers and certain actors refusing to be involved because of how it might affect their future relationship with the honours system.”

Actors who decided to take the risk included Tim Pigott-Smith, who passed away in April, who took on the titular role, which he also played in the stage version, and Richard Goulding who takes on the role of Prince Harry, which he also plays in Channel 4’s satirical The Windsors.

Oliver Chris took on the role of Prince William and called the scene featuring Diana as a ghost “pretty shocking” adding that “some people will bridle at it, but I hope it’s done with enough intelligence and sensitivity not to be gratuitous. I’m very conscious that it’s a real person and a real family.”

The play originally premiered at the Almeida Theatre in Islington, North London, before making its way to the West End where it won the Olivier and Critic’s Circle awards for best new play. When it premiered on Broadway, it was similarly lauded and received a Tony nomination.

The show will play on the BBC in the UK and PBS in the US. Executive producer Rebecca Eaton described King Charles III as “an ingenious play that promises to be as riveting on television as it was on stage. It’s a play set in the near future, but with Shakespeare never far away.”

  • I certainly hope Charles and his relations had the chance to read it over before it went into production.

  • SunShine

    This is aweful,how come something like that was even produced in the first place.The world is becoming a very, very different place to live.I would hope Her Majesty could refuse to let that be seen if she so desired its about Her family and all fake and fantasy very distasteful hope it gets zero views

  • Barbara A Richards

    In very bad taste. It used to be taboo to portray in drama or fiction or biography people still living. But I guess that has gone the way of many decencies as our civilization declines. Besides this portrayal shows a total ignorance of the way many families and relatives resolve conflict, including this one. I certainly plan to stay as far away from this poor indulgence as possible.

  • Tabitha

    Unfortunately it seems that bad taste and total disrespect is what rules our society today Cheap, nasty reality shows, graphic crime scenes, foul language, Khardashians and lots of sex scenes, which a few years ago would have been considerrd pornographic, cater quite nicely to consumer requirements. Sad but true, so it is not surprising that the BBC is going to show this type of production. The best way to treat it is to ignore it and not to watch it. Our Royal Family is not some cheap soap opera!

  • Howard T

    It is all a figment of somebody’s rather poor and mischievous imagination. Bad taste seems to be the the only way to satisfy much of the public’s insatiable appetite for salacious material. How sad that such values as we used to be proud of are shrinking into near non-existence.

  • Hei rich

    I am under the impression that it is treason to imagine the drath of a monarch? I know this was in force during the reign of Henry viii. It is poor taste to imagine anybodys death in any case

  • robert

    I am sorry to read that Tim Pigott-Smith died. He was a great performer. Not very old either.

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