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Frankie Boyle's Farewell To The Monarchy | Preview (Channel 4)

To mark the beginning of a new chapter for the British monarchy, comedian Frankie Boyle takes a wry and typically spiky lookat the state of the royal family and its future, by reviewing its 1000-year history.

As he focuses on the behaviour of royals past - violent, ruthless, land grabbing, child murdering, wife- beheading, slave trading, misogynist, empire-building - he wonders how these qualities have shaped our royal family today.

Frankie's long been fascinated by the strange and unique institution that is the British monarchy, especially how it has survived so long. It may be the most famous in the world, but with the coronation of King Charles looming, he wants to know should it -and will it - continue?

To find answers, Frankie looks back to the reigns of six key monarchs who not only had huge influence in their day, but still live long in our collective memory, often for actions that seem, even to Frankie, rather extreme. And yet, he can also see connections to the royals of today - troubling connections.

The monarchs who've attracted Frankie's eye are William the Conqueror, the most successful immigrant to cross the Channel in a small boat; Richard III, famous for his role in murdering the boy who should have been King; Henry VIII who thought it OK to marry six wives and execute two, because he was chosen by God.

Lady Jane Grey, the nine-day queen, beheaded as a victim of royal misogyny; Elizabeth I, the 'virgin queen' who saved her country, but invested in slavery; and Victoria, the most powerful woman in the world, but listed in a famous census as Albert's wife with her job being queen.

Frankie has often used his comedy to point up the current royal excess and misdeeds. Now he thinks he might have missed the connecting thread: how these monarchs from the past still influence and inform the thinking and practices of the royal family today.

He seeks evidence from a rich and fresh group of historians, from a New York royal podcaster who thinks Henry had a deadly mid-life crisis; to the DNA expert who discovered that it was Richard III under the car park and that up to 17 million of us today are related to him; and the performer who wanted to explore the symbolism that Elizabeth I created to protect herself as queen, by dressing as her. With King Charles about to be crowned our ruler, Frankie sees the case building for bidding a farewell to monarchy.

Frankie Boyle's Farewell To The Monarchy airs Sunday 30th April at 10pm on Channel 4.


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