Before it aired there was aright load of cultural snobbery towards Danny Dyer and his new historical documentary, Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family. Ignore all of this negativity because you will be missing out if you do not.
It was with all this cultural snobbery in mind, that nearly made me give this programme a miss. I had predicted that lots of cringe TV would be on show. Instead, what we actually got was a complete gem of a show. Unexpectedly, it was interesting, educational and extremely funny. This was not evidence of the BBC ”dumbing-down” for crying out loud. Rather, it was great new way of presenting history to us.
As this documentary proceeded it became abundantly clear to me who Danny Dyer reminded me of. He was like a London version of the great Karl Pilkington(The Moaning of Life, An Idiot Abroad), but with more southern swagger. Like Karl, Danny came across as very likeable and as a man-of-the-people. Like Karl, Danny sent himself up greatly via a series of role-plays, and it was this that was key to the humour generated. Danny doing his cockney hard man impression whilst jousting a watermelon, being one comedy highlight to note amongst many.
The basis of this documentary was it being a sort of follow-up to Danny’s appearance on Who Do You Think You Are? On that occasion, it was surprisingly discovered that Danny was a descendant of King Edward III. Consequently, Danny’s family tree was now going to be examined more closely we were told.
This documentary became so engaging because although there were many laughs aplenty, Danny cared deeply about the subject matter at hand. As a result, we therefore cared about what we were watching. If Danny had been flippant with the expert historians or say not been bothered about what they were telling him, then it would have felt like a pointless exercise all-round.
As stated, Danny threw himself completely into the action very early on. Upon investigating his Viking 35-times-great-grandfather Rollo, he stated, ”you know, I do feel I need to get VIKINGED-up out of my brain.” Such a line just made me really laugh. Can ”VIKINGED-up out of my brain”, become part of common parlance from now on please?
Other comedy highlights included Danny giving it the big bravado on camera about eating like the Vikings did, only then to have to run off camera whilst he spewed his guts up at what he’d just eaten. Another one was him being given a swear box near the end(he’s famous for swearing a lot), given that his descendant French King Louis IX, would have strongly disapproved of such a thing.
There was a brilliant emotional climax at the end of this documentary upon Danny discovering that he was related to a Saint. Again, because he was so gobsmacked and moved by this news, it thus in turn made it moving and heartwarming for us to witness.
I laughed lots and I was fascinated by lots. Great all-round telly for me in what turned out to be an unexpected delight. 4/5.