Telly Today: Thursday, January 30th sees ITV head once more inside the word of the Royal Family. Tonight’s choice is picked by Dominic Knight while Doug Lambert is on holiday.

 The Queen, Elizabeth II


Using rarely-seen footage and revealing historical documents, this major new four-part series tells the inside story of Queen’s reign from the Coronation to the present.

Historians, eyewitnesses, and royal insiders offer new insights on the pivotal moments in the Queen’s life, with intriguing revelations about the real woman behind the Crown.

Queen Elizabeth II has been on the British throne for 67 years. A record-breaking reign which began at the dawn of the TV age as nearly 300 million people watched her glittering Coronation. The event marked a turning point for war ravaged Britain, as it entered a new Elizabethan age. In the years since, Queen Elizabeth II has become one of the most respected leaders on earth.  Her story over the past seven decades has fascinated and delighted people, not just in Britain but around the world.

Tonight in the second of four episodes; the documentary looks at the Royal Family’s rollercoaster relationship with the press and how managing the media has been one of the most difficult challenges of the Queen’s reign. At the time of the abdication in 1936, British press barons could be relied upon to conceal royal scandals from the public, but fast-forward fifty years to the heyday of Diana and Fergie, and royal misdemeanours would inspire a tabloid feeding frenzy.

This programme traces the highs and lows, beginning with the Queen’s 1953 – 1954 Commonwealth tour, when press cameramen worked hand in glove with the Palace, censoring gossip and scandal and presenting an idealised image of the Royal Family. In the late 1950s, writer Lord Altrincham was publicly attacked for daring to publish criticisms of the Queen, but by the mid-1970s Princess Margaret’s hedonistic lifestyle and controversial love life were the subject of increasing press attention. In the 1980s Princess Diana would become a global media icon, but as her marriage fell apart the press had a field day, feeding on Royal scandals that would threaten to topple the monarchy.

After Diana’s death, the younger generation has kept a wary distance from the press, zealously guarding their privacy. But while the media relies on the Royals to sell newspapers, the Royals rely on the press to publicise their work and communicate with the public. So, what does the future hold for this often fraught relationship in an age of insatiable media scrutiny?

Queen Elizabeth II has been on the British throne for 67 years.

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