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Scott Begbie: Only a right Charlie would think The Crown real deal

Mel Gibson in Braveheart. Image: Allstar/Cinetext/PARAMOUNT
Mel Gibson in Braveheart. Image: Allstar/Cinetext/PARAMOUNT

I demand all screenings of Braveheart carry a warning that it is a work of fiction.

After all, we can’t have people believing that William Wallace painted his face blue and rode around in a kilt.

What’s that? Everyone knows Mel Gibson’s epic was a Hollywood fantasy with a fingertip grip on historic fact? Phew, thank goodness.

But has anyone told Oliver Dowden? You know, Westminster’s culture secretary who is demanding Netflix put up a warning that The Crown is fiction.

Which begs the question, is anyone sitting watching The Crown and thinking Prince Charles has had a bit of work done, because he’s looking so different.

Or are they wondering how they managed to get fly-on-the-wall access to Buck House all those years ago?

I mean, is anyone really that dim-witted they think they are watching a documentary as opposed to a glorified soap opera?

Actually, given the fact Camilla has been getting pelters online after one episode, maybe some are. But they’re probably the same people who do their shopping in their pyjamas.

To be honest, I find the whole concept of The Crown to be quite bizarre and, initially refused to watch it.

I mean, it’s not as if we don’t get wall-to-wall coverage of the Royal Family as it is from the media.

I find the ins and outs of Britain’s leading dysfunctional family dull enough in real life, without having to sit on my couch and have it replayed to me with Dynasty touches.

And isn’t it rather tasteless to be making a drama out of the lives of real people who are actually still living those lives? What does that add to the party?

That said, a friend said The Crown was actually watchable, so I took in a few episodes. Then I stopped. It was boring the backside off me.

Every minute spent watching that was a minute less of watching something decent, warm and uplifting like The Repair Shed.

The latest turn of events on The Crown has put the final nail in the coffin for me.

Much has been made of it reaching the Thatcher era, with the harridan of Number 10 played by the luminous Gillian Anderson. There’s no way I can watch an actor I have always been a massive fan of playing someone who I loathe so much – I change channel whenever old clips of her are shown.

Still, Oliver Dowden might be on to something with his warning that what viewers are watching is fiction not fact. It’s a pity he didn’t come up with it sooner.

If he had, we could have been alerted every time a Brexiteer came on telly to tell us we were taking back control and would be able to give the NHS £350 million a week instead of handing it over the EU.

In fact, we could use it now whenever Boris Johnson or Michael Gove says they didn’t say something about Brexit despite being captured on film saying it.

Although the danger of that is having “this is fiction” burned on to your TV screen.

St Andrew’s Day should become a main event

Watching JJ Chalmers waltzing in his kilt on Strictly, I turned to Mrs B and said: “You know, I can’t remember the last time I wore my kilt.”

Which brought the response: “I can’t remember the last time we went anywhere you would need to wear your kilt.”

Fair point, well made. I actually pondered with clambering into it for St Andrew’s Day yesterday but opted for the comfier beer festival T-shirt and old jeans look instead.

However, it did occur to me we should make more of our national day than just let the Google doodle do some weird plasticine-looking thing involving thistles and castles.

In fact, it could be the jumping-off point for making winter a Scottish season of celebration (not this year, obviously, thanks to Covid).

But November 30 could be a big day for us. Hogmanay already is and that leads on to Burns Night on January 25.

Three big set-piece days that could be linked and promoted to turn the winter months into a celebration of all things Scottish.

After all, we have winter warmers built into our psyche, from bracing drams to cosy pubs, with a big plate of haggis or stovies for the ideal comfort food.

Let’s face it, the Americans use their Thanksgiving to fire the starting gun for “the holidays”, why can’t we do something similar… and better.

Resolution to Restaurant dilemma

Adjusting to our brave new world, Mrs B and I now always book ahead if we fancy Saturday lunch, instead of just rocking up somewhere only to find it’s full.

Which means head-scratching of where to go and “what do you fancy” debating in the morning.

Then when we arrive in Aberdeen we pass all these cool places that slipped our memory and wished we had booked. We have now solved this by noting everywhere we stopped and salivated over the menu. That’s three months’ worth of great restaurants to check out and a renewed respect for the north-east’s outstanding dining scene.

This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.