Kingdom, ITV1

by | Apr 22, 2007 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

Our ITV, which art in trouble, ridiculed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come; thy off switch will be pressed, on terrestrial as it is in satellite. Give us this day some decent drama. And forgive us our switching over. For thine is the Kingdom, the bland and the boring. For ever and ever. Amen.

What was good about it?

• If we’d been playing a drinking game, taking a swig every time a Sunday Night TV Drama Cliché appeared in this series about a country solicitor, we’d have been very merry at the end after ticking off a smelly yokel, a fearsome old lady, a prim receptionist, a yappy dog, a dotty auntie (She’s heard of dogging, though. So racy) and an eccentric car. There was probably a lot more but our eyes glazed over for much of the hour-long “drama”.

• We quite liked Lyle (played by Emmerdale hunk Karl Davies), the put-upon assistant with a cheeky manner and callow youth appeal. Reminded us of when Dominic Monaghan was the sidekick in Hetty Wainwright Investigates.

• The central plot – about the lack of inheritance left by a wealthy woman – was similar to what you’d get in any Sunday night detective drama and had enough mileage to keep us slightly intrigued about the outcome (which was sickly sweet when it happened).

• Neil Stuke’s guest appearance as a bastard desperate to get his hands on his mother’s money (there was none left, ha ha, because she’d given it all to help people with special needs).

• Swaffham served as a very sweet looking Market Shipborough.

What was bad about it?

• Stephen Fry as benevolent solicitor Peter Kingdom is no different to Stephen Fry the host of QI or Stephen Fry the star of tea ads. Surely he was paid to act, not just to be his rather lovable self. He even has the gall to tell assistant Lyle: “You have mastered the art of yourselfness to a higher degree than, well, a higher degree than you managed to get in your finals.” Fry could only have been more like himself if we’d caught him naked in the bath indulging in clever wordplay while sipping tea. And surely he’s above spluttering nonsense such as “Hell, blast, pants and damnation.” And surely he must be very jealous of former comedy partner Hugh Laurie who is winning awards for challenging US drama House while he’s still confined to domestic tosh.

• Hermione Norris, who we normally love, was so annoying as Peter’s sister Beatrice, addicted to vodka, high heels and shagging builders. Plus her hair is dyed brown. Bad hair series. (We did love the cigarette holder, though. Very Bet Lynch)

• Tony Slattery over-acting as nutty, smelly Snell (the Kingdom equivalent of Jeremiah Greengrass)

• Celia Imrie was wasted as wincing, winsome receptionist Gloria Millington.

• We bet the reference to Jarndice Versus Jarndice (from Bleak House) went miles over the heads of most ITV viewers.

• The running “jokes” eg Lyle being laden down with boxes, Kingdom avoiding a woman in a hat

• “The law is an ass” inevitably turned up in the script.

• Ted the publican’s bizarre country accent.

• The stupid factual error: Lyle is supposed to be an articled clerk; articled clerks were abolished 20 years ago.

• Lyle is keen on working in London. This is conveyed, ridiculously, by having his iPod plugged in at every opportunity.

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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