Daily Express

Perfect picture of royalty

- Mike Ward previews tonight’s TV

WHEN Panini started publishing their enticingly collectibl­e stickers back in the 1960s, they decided they should focus on football. It was a sound choice. Kids, they rightly figured, would have no qualms about standing in the playground bartering with one another over images of their football heroes. I’ll swap you my Geoff Hurst for your Jimmy Greaves, that kind of thing.

But what if the company had focused on another theme altogether? Specifical­ly, what if they’d published collectibl­e photos of royalty? I’ll swap you my

Princess Margaret for your Duke of Gloucester, for example. Businesswi­se, would that have been such a canny move? Probably not.

And yet once upon a time it would have been considered inspired.As we discover tonight in LUCYWORSLE­Y’S ROYAL PHOTO ALBUM (BBC4, 9pm), collectibl­e images of the Royal

Family used to be a genuinely big thing, albeit a bit further back in time.

As Lucy explains, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were the first royal couple to grasp the potential of this new-fangled thing called photograph­y, to appreciate its power to portray them as they wished. So much so, indeed, that the famously forward-thinking Albert decided to have a whole set of pictures taken of them and their children – informal, off-duty images that would make them seem relatable to their subjects.

“Make us seem what?”Victoria would have replied. “Relatable,” Albert would have repeated. “It’s a word, my darling, which will become super-popular many years from now with hugely annoying people.”

“Oh, what, you mean the same sort of people who’ll insist on saying ‘super’ when they mean ‘very’.That’ll really get on one’s wick.”

“Ja, precisely.”

These pictures Albert commission­ed, we learn, were published as collectibl­e cards and apparently became a big hit.You could also purchase similar cards of other prominent figures of the time. I’ll swap you my Disraeli for your Alfred, Lord Tennyson. This latest documentar­y of Lucy’s is probably her best in a long while. There’s less of that faffing around in fancy dress that she’s a wee bit obsessed with and more intriguing detail and analysis.

It covers everything from the earliest royal images to the Princess Diana era to the challenges faced today by Di’s sons. It really is well worth a watch.


9pm), our contenders must each make a rugby shirt, a tennis outfit and a toddler’s waterproof onesie.

But not before THE REPAIR SHOP (BBC1, 8pm) has fixed a rhinoceros. It’s a long story.

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