What to say if you liked it:
It’s nice to watch a Channel 4 documentary that hasn’t been sexed up so much that it should really be on Men & Motors. I can’t wait for the remaining five parts on a Glastonbury monastery, the Palace of Whitehall, Nottingham Castle, Millbank Penitentiary and Fonthill Abbey.
What to say if you disliked it:
I prefer Restoration.
What was good about it?
• Simon Thurley is a great, enthusiastic, wide (blue) eyed host (“Ooh, this room gives you a tingle in your spine, doesn’t it?”). And he’s a little bit camp. When we say “little bit” we mean that compared with, say, Justin and Colin, he’s a hairy-assed trucker with the Daily Sport on his dashboard.
• The computerised recreations of the demolished Theatre Royal Drury Lane were excellent.
• It featured luminous rope which was way cool.
• We found out what a “macaroni” was (a sort of Graham Nortonish figure who camped it up on stage before the play began and got pelted with carrots and orange peel for his troubles).
• We found out why theatres have green rooms (they covered the walls in baize so actors didn’t get whitewash on their costumes).
What was bad about it?
• The captions introducing contributors were unnecessarily flashy.
• It featured a boring archaeologist. (“There’s an interesting stone wall at the back there.”)
• The revelation that tallow candles made old theatres smell of week-old lamb joints put us off our dinner.