The Rise and Fall of Versailles
Friday, 8.30pm, SBS One According to this documentary, Louis XIV was a bit of an egomaniac. He made the powerful aristocrats of his day bend before him and was so sexually insatiable that no single mistress could satisfy him for long. You see, throughout a long and turbulent life, Louis sought magnificence in all things. ‘‘ He strived for it in battle, in love and in art,’’ says the rather breathless female narrator. But above all he wanted magnificence at Versailles, a building so spectacular that it would outshine any palace on earth. Naturally, that’s exactly what he got. If you are expecting a sort of historical Grand Designs about the enduring edifice, that’s simply not going to happen. This documentary series is closer in spirit to The Tudors than Kevin McCloud. In fact, as Miss Breathless attests, this is the story of how a king’s obsession created one of the wonders of the world.