I WAS ready to dismiss this drama, not really being in the mood for a story of old kings in tights and spaniel wigs, but when I put on my specs and looked closer I noticed the extra numeral after the name. King Charles the Third?

This is a speculative drama imagining how things might go for Prince Charles when he ascends the throne, and we watch as he’s plunged into a constitutional crisis on being asked to sign a repressive law curtailing press freedom. My appetite was further whetted by the inclusion of an actress playing Princess Diana’s ghost; that seems a bold move in a Britain still poised to tremble and weep over her memory.

Based on the verse play by Mike Bartlett, it opens with the Queen’s funeral, and Charles (Tim Piggott Smith) speaks his haunting lines to the camera: “My life has been a lingering for the throne.”

This is no ordinary drama.


CHLOE awakes from nightmares of little girls fleeing a pursuer in a deserted cornfield. Roused by someone banging at the door, she staggers to answer it, wearing some very tiny little pants, only to find it’s her boss. Oh what a bad start to the day! Then things get worse: he reveals she’s being seconded to a tough role with a new police force. “Oh and Chloe,” he says. “Try not to shoot anyone this time.” She glares at him with surly dignity, which she can manage to do as she’s wearing trousers by now.

In this Belgian drama, spoken in French, Guy Bernager, a child killer once known as Belgium’s “public enemy”, is being released from prison on the condition that he live with monks in Vielsart Abbey. Furious locals are protesting about the murderer in their midst, and even the monks look silently disgusted at their new arrival. Chloe is there to manage the operation and to protect him, but when a child goes missing her job becomes harder still.