I can’t tell if the makers of Diana: The Musical have intentionally made it teeth-grindingly terrible, or whether it happened organically.
Either way, the experience of watching this truly bizarre Broadway show, with its utterly weird tone, nonsensical lyrics and school musical-level acting, is certainly something you won’t forget for a long time.
I can only guess Netflix filmed it because they hoped its badness would go viral.
And here I am reviewing it, so mission accomplished I guess?
I could fill this review simply by quoting the terrible lyrics by Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan and Joe DiPietro, some of which tripped off the tongue like a primary pupil’s first attempts at poetry.
Belters like: “It’s the thriller from Manila with Diana and Camilla.”
Or: “Darling, I’m holding our son, so let me say jolly well done.”
Even better: “Harry, my ginger-haired son, you’ll always be second to none.”
Stephen Sondheim it ain’t…
Let me just repeat that: there’s a musical sequence set in an Aids ward.”
My chest positively tightened with nervous energy when I realised they were actually going to set a sequence in an Aids ward.
Let me just repeat that: there’s a musical sequence set in an Aids ward.
Luckily I didn’t have a mouth full of wine, otherwise I may have spat it across the living room when a patient sang the line: “I may be unwell but I’m handsome as hell.”
One thing I certainly did do is hit rewind to confirm I wasn’t dreaming.
Should I feel sorry for stars Jeanna de Waal (Diana), Roe Hartrampf (Charles), Erin Davies (Camilla) and Judy Kaye (the Queen and – I’m not kidding – Barbara Cartland)?
They certainly commit wholeheartedly but ultimately make a laughing stock of themselves.
I can’t in good conscience recommend Diana: The Musical, but it may well be the best worst thing you’ll see on TV this year.
The revolution is finally televised
Ten years ago, the idea that the architects of New Labour would sit down for a candid talk about the era would have been unthinkable.
Not enough time would have passed and I’m sure the wounds were still too raw.
But time is a great healer and now Blair and Brown: The New Labour Revolution (BBC2) has been made and the five-part series is a belter for politics nerds.
The first programme kicked off in 1983 when the Labour Party were viewed as unelectable and took us up to 1994, when Tony Blair won the leadership election and their fortunes were about to change big time.
We all know what happens next, but hearing the juicy stories behind the headlines was delicious.
Maid balances out the grimness
The description for Netflix’s terrific new drama series Maid sounds unbearably grim: After fleeing an abusive relationship, a young mum finds a job cleaning houses as she fights to provide for her young child and build them a better future.
What surprised me though was at no point did I feel as though I was drowning in a sea of misery.
The story of Alex, played by Margaret Qualley, is very sad but it’s always hugely watchable – I’d even go as far as to call it entertaining. There’s even a few laughs.
As a portrait of poverty in the modern age, it doesn’t pull any punches (the bureaucratic hoops Alex has to jump through to get help will make you furious) but it wisely isn’t unbearable to sit through.
Murder to sit through
I love the concept of Channel 4’s Murder Island, but it isn’t half as fun as I imagined it would be.
The big problem is that the dramatised bits that are supposed to tell the victim’s backstory and introduce us to all the main suspects are deeply dull.
As soon as they interrupted the flow of the reality show parts, my heart sank.
They may be written by Ian Rankin, but that didn’t stop them from feeling like ropey Crimewatch reconstructions.
Film of the week: The Green Knight (Amazon Prime)
There are parts of David Lowery’s perplexing and quirky fantasy film that are drop-dead gorgeous and wouldn’t look out of place in a painting.
Actually, almost every scene has something in it that’s off-kilter or mysterious, making this ambitious adaptation of the 14th Century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight a deeply cinematic experience.
It takes a lot for me to be engrossed in movies set in this time period – John Boorman’s much-loved Excalibur bored me to tears – so this Arthurian adventure could have easily been a non-starter.
But it comes back to the bewitching way Lowery depicts the quest of Dev Patel – it’s gritty and realistic but with a wash of fairytale whimsy.
It really is like nothing else I’ve seen and if you’re in the mood for something that will defy your idea of what a fantasy film can be, I’d highly recommend it.