The Daily Telegraph
Can Prince William become the new Greta Thunberg?
While the Duke of Sussex busies himself with dismantling structural racism, his brother is sticking to a less controversial subject: the environment. Prince William: A Planet For Us All (ITV) followed the Duke of Cambridge for two years on his “personal mission to find ways to protect the natural world for future generations”.
We’ve come a long way since 1969, when the Queen allowed cameras to film the Royal family for a fly-on-thewall documentary and was so dismayed by the reaction that the film has never had a repeat showing. David Attenborough, then a BBC controller, reportedly worried that letting the public see the royals at such close quarters risked “killing the monarchy”. Now, of course, the PR strategy has changed, our royals are never far from a friendly camera crew, and Attenborough was the special guest here.
The times demand that we be given some personal details, for relatability. So the Duke told us about George’s love for the outdoors, we saw the Duchess telling Attenborough that the children were “massive fans”, and we learned that for the Duke – as with his brother – Africa is his “second home”.
More involving was a tour of the beautiful Sandringham estate, where the Duke looked absolutely at peace, transported back to his childhood by the sound of the oystercatchers.
The programme highlighted such excellent projects as the Backyard Nature campaign to nurture wildlife on our doorsteps, inspired by a group of Liverpool schoolchildren, and the Ullapool Sea Savers, looking after marine life in the Scottish Highlands.
As the Duke pointed out, he is not the first in his family to champion these issues: his father and grandfather were ahead of their time in addressing the environment and conservation. What the documentary failed to explain very well was how far the Duke’s role goes in all of this, beyond raising awareness with royal visits. It would have been instructive to see how he is marrying all of these projects together. Instead, we just saw him moving from place to place – one moment canoeing around a wetlands in Hackney, the next on a trip to Pakistan to hear about flooding.
Towards the end, he had words of praise for Greta Thunberg. “People were desperate for someone to come along. Thank goodness there’s somebody there with a voice who is being active,” the Duke said, and one suspects he would like us to think of him in the same vein.
Jolene Dollar is a British porn star. Hayley Burrows is a busy mother making sure she’s home in time to make the kids’ tea and get their PE kit ready. They are, of course, one and the same. Jolene is Hayley’s porn persona, which has bought her a nice house in the suburbs, a private education for her daughter and a convertible the colour of Pepto-bismol.
The distance between fantasy and reality is mined for comedy early on in Adult Material (Channel 4), a four-part drama about the sex industry. At the height of ‘passion’ on a film shoot, Jolene makes a mental note to take the mince out of the freezer and do the ironing when she gets home.
Lucy Kirkwood’s drama could carry on in this vein, as a sort of black comedy. The first sight of Rupert Everett certainly prompts a laugh – he is production company boss Carroll Quinn, with flowing locks and crocodile skin slipper, and a reminder that Everett is a wickedly entertaining actor who should be on our screens more often.
The jokes are required because the subject matter is grim. But Kirkwood strives for more than comedy. She is interested in the murky moral complexities of this world. Jolene (an excellent performance from Hayley Squires) has power and agency, but in an industry where terrible things happen to women – as illustrated by Amy (Siena Kelly), bright and bouncy when she first appears on set, a deadeyed husk the next time we see her. Director Dave seems like a decent, straight-talking bloke when dealing with Jolene (Phil Daniels is perfect casting here) but inveigles Amy into a horrible situation on her first day.
The sex scenes are not graphic, but the descriptions of them are – repulsively so. As a viewing experience, it is deeply uncomfortable. I read a preview of Adult Material which was headlined “not one for the kids”, but with almost half of 16-17-year-olds who responded to a BBFC survey last year saying they had recently viewed pornography, perhaps they should watch and learn more about the realities of the business.
Prince William: A Planet For Us All ★★★
Adult Material ★★★★