Elvis By The Presleys, ITV1

by | May 18, 2005 | All, Reviews

What to say if you liked it

At last – an actual celebrity gets on the ITV schedule

What to say if you didn’t like it

A little less conversation, a little more action please

What was good about it?

• TV is highly saturated when it comes to celebrity documentaries and biographies but, for once, this programme’s subject was deserving of attention. An icon and superstar in the truest sense, Elvis is also testament to the adage ‘they don’t make ‘em like they used to’.

• The promise of exclusive access to his personal world was substantiated. We were consistently shown revealing footage of his family life and, unlike most celebrity programmes on at the moment, the talking heads involved actually knew the subject they were discussing. Priscilla and Lisa-Marie were moving and engaging, while cousins and confidantes added credibility to the show.

• The costumes: from jumpsuits and gold jackets to colossal shades and that comeback leather outfit, this was a sartorial visual orgy.

• Priscilla’s mum calling her “Cilla” during an interview.

• The brilliant footage of hysterical fans screaming and close to fainting at Elvis concerts and appearances – a mass frenzy of worship that is now sadly absent in today’s pop world.

What was bad about it?

• Although the private footage shown was appealing and exclusive, it was also poorly edited, jumped quickly in time period and consequently was disorientating to watch.

• Arguably, the programme’s emphasis on the personal neglected The King’s greatest achievement – his music. We could have done with more of the classic hits as well as recognition of their legacy.

• Elvis singing Old MacDonald Had A Farm in one of many horrifically cheesy B-movies.

• The emphasis on providing us with intimate access sometimes came near to scraping the barrel. While showing us around the Elvis holiday home, Priscilla pointed out that “Those are the same pots and pans [the maid used] for Elvis”.

• The absence of Priscilla starring in the Naked Gun movies.

• Ultimately, the trouble with Elvis is that due to his enormous legacy and enduring fanbase, we already know everything we need to about him. As interesting as this show’s perspective was, there was no startling revelation or conclusion.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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