LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
23 August 2012
The Trouble With Harry

BAFTA winner photographer/video artist Alison Jackson must be stopping
people on the streets. "No! No! That's my responsibility, my job. That's what I
do. Show the Royals as pathetically narcissistic, entitled, hedonistic - and dim
as an energy saving light bulb - and my pictures get printed."

Oh dear, oh dear a spanner in the royal works. Prince Harry has been pushed
forward to represent the modernising of the royal brand: the new young
conscientious, sensible, mature, reliable royals and evidently his role has not
been made clear to him.

He's never been known for his staggering intellect or his ability to make thought-
out decisions - his homage to Nazis comes to mind, his racist remarks to
'mates'. A footballer he's not - although he has been considering himself quite
the competing athlete. Boys just want to have fun.

The almost 30 years old 'boy' seems a bit unrestrained unmanageable
uncontrollable. Pictures of him taking continuous pics of the beach volley ball
team appeared curious at the time. Why? He has been seen more drunk than
usual and journalists have made curious mention of him being unkind to an
animal (now that is not good). Harry told a fellow reveller he was there in sleazy
Sin City for some "full-on partying". Olympic appearances can be exhausting
don't you know.

No worries. 99% of the British public find his exhibitionist antics endearing: 'He
works so hard,' 'He's simply a young man enjoying himself,' 'He's allowed to do
whatever he wants in private,' 'He's gone up a notch in my opinion'. 'He's a
normal lad out to have a good time'. Right. Imagine Harry's cousin Zara being
the first to get her kit off in front of 25 strangers she's invited into her hotel
suite. Would it be 'Girls just want to have fun'? I think not.

The press are not so forgiving. Emma G Geller in
The Guardian: "I have an
idea for him and for other members of the royal family who gad about and
undermine the hard work of the rest of their team (Prince Andrew, anyone?)
Let's strip them of their royal status...strip off his [Harry's] crown. Retire from
royalty. Leave the firm and join the crowd."

Odd that people partying at 'adult parties' in Las Vegas (and Hollywood I hear)
are made to turn over their mobiles while indulging themselves until they are
dressed and ready to leave, so with someone so famous and with security we
are paying for, how did it happen? Surely the 'bunch of hot chicks' didn't have
their phones hidden in their bikinis.

The last time we saw Harry he was standing like a rabbit in headlights as he
stood in for his gran at the high-profile Olympic closing ceremony. Clearly his
gran wasn't in his thoughts in Las Vegas. His Army superiors must be thrilled.
Where was Alison Jackson when the Palace needed her to be complicit?

Surely the Palace will now increase his charities. Harry gives his support to the
LA porn industry hit by syphilis, Harry gives his support to naturalists who want
to walk around town centres, Harry gives his support to more billiard halls being
built, Harry gives his support to bespoke necklaces.

Harry; the new 'Airmiles Andy'. Nice hat, Harry. Not.


Shoot JR, Please

The assault: in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, on BBC
Breakfast, ITV Daybreak, The Wright Stuff, The Morning Show, The One
Show
(I stopped counting out of utter annoyance) one or more of the cast are
pushing the new and surely improved (not really)
Dallas. Critics are sceptical.

Now we know the young and beautiful new to the job actors are geniuses as
revealed by Patrick Duffy: brilliant, superb, splendid - well, in American: really,
really great. Hmmmm. Duffy promises the additional actors will never be able to
walk down the street again as their new-found fame will spread like a crude oil
spill. How thrilling.

21years later we are asked to hold our collective breath for the latest episodes
appearing sometime in September. Curiously none of the uninitiated or original
cast members know exactly when.

13 years on air, 350 million tuned in to see who shot JR. Not me. I never
watched the programme, yet by some miracle, I knew who shot him. However
we don't know who shot Sotheby's Europe chairman, Henry Wyndham.

Oh dear. HW was shot in the face while out shooting grouse. Evidently his thick-
rimmed spectacles saved his eyesight, but his face, neck and arm were hit with
52 lead pellets. The shoot had been organised by an unnamed American hedge-
fund manager.

Sotheby's spokeswoman Mitzi Mina, (who doesn't recognise the persuasion of
a first name ending in 'i'?) said: "We can confirm that Henry Wyndham
sustained an accident on the grouse moor and is currently on track for a full
and rapid recovery." No scars? We're so reassured now Mitzi. Soon he'll be
back, gun in hand, to shoot unsuspecting grouse driven from the bushes.

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has basically shot himself in the foot,
has bitten the hand that feeds him. Clearly the series was made with the
potential American audience crucial for its success. It seems to be universally
adored. It has been nominated for 16 Emmys.

Fellowes inexplicably revealed his view on US actors at the Global Business
Summit on Creative Content: most US actors lack the versatility to star in his
series.

Lord Fellowes believes Hollywood stars struggle with ‘period drama’ so are not
as believable in such roles. "They look forward all the time, [and] there is
something about period drama where they tend to go to a strange place called
'period' where people wear funny clothes. Whereas our actors don’t do that. I
think they make it very real. Our actors have an understanding of period – for
Europeans the past is very much in them as well as the present. Americans find
it harder. The US has the best film actors in the world but they are a very
contemporary race." A bit contradictory. If they are the best actors in the world
(not), then surely they should be able to simply
act  - regardless of frilly
petticoats or frock coats.

Executives have admitted that when American Shirley MacLaine joined the cast
of
Downton as American Elizabeth McGovern's mother it took quite some time
to adjust to the ‘rhythm’ of the language. Not the irritating use of anachronisms
then.

JF may be best pleased, but perhaps not for long. BBC is offering Benedict
Cumberbatch, who can act in any period or country in its new drama,
Parade's
End
which surely must be better than the obvious Downton soap.
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