The royal palaces are the backdrop to a thousand years of
British history and are preserved as unique historical monuments.
The conservation of these monuments needs to be balanced with
the necessity of a continual flow of curious visitors...
BBC has for a long time had a justified reputation for producing
interesting and innovative documentaries, and Tales from
the Palace continues this strong trend.
Tales is a ten part series looking at various English
palaces across a twelve-month period. It would have been an
arid affair to present the history behind each building with
some plum voiced expert boring the pants off us, instead the
BBC have elected the far more interesting idea of presenting
the palaces from the perspective of those whose daily work
and lives are wrapped up with their existence.
essence, the programme is a kind of posh Life of Grime
with narrator, Robert Lindsay, setting the scene before
gracefully bowing out and allowing the custodians of the palaces
to tell the story in their own voices. Essentially, the show
follows the work of conservationist in Hampton Court, The
Tower of London, Kensington Palace, The Banqueting House and
Kew Palace. By allowing the custodians to present buildings,
which some of them are quite clearly in love with, gives a
personal, sometimes funny and often touching look at the palaces.
The first programme reveals some interesting things that I
was unaware of, for instance although the queen owns these
building in name she pays nothing towards their upkeep and
surprisingly neither does the government. All the revenue
that needs to be generated for the restoration and upkeep
comes purely from tourists.
The program was originally transmitted this year (2006) and
each half hour program delves into the need to conserve these
monuments, which cover a thousand years of our history against
the need to have endless visitors stream through in order
to pay for their upkeep.
The format and presentation will help this documentary series
appeal to a wide audience, not just history buffs. If you
like to see people who obviously love their work, some of
who are only just this side of eccentric, then you could do
worse than invest in this double DVD set.
are extras only on the first disc which consist of Histories,
which are text pages about the palaces, and a Photo Gallery.
Each individual programme can be selected. The video is nice
and clean, with stereo only sound, but let's face it stereo
is just fine given the disc's contents.
a worthy addition to anyone's documentary collection, shame
there weren't more extras.