CHANNEL 5 seems to be making an effort to shrug off those constant shows about poverty. For this drama documentary about Elizabeth I they’ve even acquired a historian last seen on BBC4, Suzannah Lipscomb.

But if the channel is trying to up its game here, it often betrays itself by sounding like a Schoolboy’s Guide to the Tudors, explaining in careful, slow tones that Elizabeth’s mummy and daddy didn’t really like each other and mummy got her head chopped off and so Henry would hardly win “Tudor Dad of the Year”.

Anyone watching this to enhance their understanding of the Elizabethan age will wince at this simplistic approach, but perhaps such people won’t be tuning in to Channel 5 for their history lessons anyway. Aimed instead at people with only a superficial knowledge of the Virgin Queen, and who don’t want to be taxed too hard, it could be a success. Lily Cole stars as the young Queen.


THIS is one of those programmes that is absolutely unapologetic in its desire to make you weep. It doesn’t care that it’s an ordinary Tuesday and so your mind is on work and supermarkets and ironing school uniforms. It wants these humdrum things pushed out of your head to be replaced by reunited families hugging and sobbing. Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell extend a hankie to you.

The show used to reunite families but this new series does something a little different: it goes back to visit eight of the families it has helped over the years to see how their lives are now.

There may be some viewers hoping it all goes a bit Jerry Springer, but no such luck. This is all simpering and soft, but a good way to get some of your work or relationship stress out. Cry on the sofa and tell your partner it’s just because of Ron and Christine, separated for 60 years.