Henry is having a midlife crisis: he’s reading books on happiness and wearing garish socks. He’s urbane, friendly, 40-something… and king of the United Kingdom. Fearing obsolescence, the monarch (an easy and charming fit for Charles Edwards) initially agrees to a rebrand. But, stooping low from the weight of his crown, he tells his aloof Queen, “We live in a bubble, Katerina, and I intend to burst it.”
This diamantéd but dysfunctional family offers gentle laughs: Sally Phillips has crazy fun with a Scandi accent, while Don Warrington radiates avuncular disdain as the king’s butler. And there are reflective interludes in which a clearly smitten Henry flirts with the palace florist Serena (Kara Tointon), hinting at a Roman Holiday vibe next week.
It’s a welcome, red-carpet return for two of our finest comedy writers, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, and classily directed by Vadim Jean.
Some of tonight’s eight amateur cooks hoping to get one of those sideways twitches of the head that signify John Torode’s approval have unusual occupations. There’s a naval architect, a recruitment officer specialising in estate agents and even a yurt builder, for heaven’s sake.
Some of the dishes in the invention test are equally unusual: moussaka with couscous cake and pomegranate, or bone marrow ravioli with mushroom, apple and a blue cheese sauce anyone? It’s not giving anything away to reveal that neither of these cooks hears Torode exclaim, “Thanks, babe! You made me day!” Nor do they make the guest judges (a trio of discerning and considered former finalists from 2010) coo and gasp over a dish that a salivating Gregg Wallace describes as “a triumph” and “magnificent”. Do we spot a potential finalist perhaps?
You can enjoy this on several levels: marvel at the (very physical) tests of communication and understanding between owner and dog, or cry with cruel laughter as some poor mutt does a comedy fall or stops mid-race to sniff the camera and have a poo. Of course, these are not Crufts champions, just much-loved pets, so quite rightly they’re rewarded with a pat on the head whatever the result.
Chris Packham is in the Lake District with eight people who all believe their dog is the best. In between the challenges a spot of dog psychology reveals that a wagging tail doesn’t necessarily mean the dog is happy.
Shot almost entirely on the streets of Mumbai, British director Danny Boyle’s hyper-energetic rags-to-riches tale (and winner of eight Oscars) aims to dazzle and delight from the start, and for the most part it succeeds. Dev Patel plays the titular “slumdog” Jamal, a poverty-stricken orphan who’s enjoying a triumphant run on India’s version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.
He’s now just one correct answer away from the jackpot of 20 million rupees, but the show’s host becomes suspicious and the police are brought in. During Jamal’s interrogation, episodes from his extraordinary life unfold, revealing that each quiz question relates to a different experience – ranging from the tragic to the rumbustiously comical.
Patel is an appealing lead and he is ably supported by Freida Pinto as his lifelong love interest Latika and Madhur Mittal as his cynical, morally compromised brother Salim. But the movie’s real star is the city itself, which is brought to hectic, exuberant life by Boyle and ace cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle.