Tony Spittles reviews the latest television programmes
But it’s a shame that they could have kept open for a little longer to be of assistance to the aristocrats whose plight at finding help for the “stately piles” was plain to see in the opening episodes of the five-part series ‘You Can’t Get the Staff’ (Channel 4, Tuesday).
These included Princess Olga Romanoff, a member of the former Russian royal family looking for a “garden boy” for her mansion in Kent; someone to buff up Sir Humphry Wakefield’s massive collection of arms and armour at Chillingham Castle in Northumberland, while “down south” London socialite Lady Colin Campbell was out to get the best butler to make sure that her dinner party at home went off without a hitch.
She did that by engaging the services of Grant Harrold, who had previously worked for Prince Charles, bringing style and superb service to Lady Colin and her guests, as well as showing how to iron a newspaper and polish a chandelier.
However, not all the applicants got the advertised job as one teenager with anti-hunt views found himself at odds with the princess, with similar disappointment coming the way of a pony-tailed sword enthusiast who didn’t come up to the high standards set by the 77-year-old baronet.
Another take on the high life is revealed in ‘Life Is Toff’ (BBC3, Tuesday), which revisits the aristocratic Fulford family, masters of the 3,000-acre Great Fulford estate in rural Devon..
The family hit the headlines in 2004 in Channel 4’s ‘The Fxxxing Fulfords’ introducing us to a swearing, dysfunctional family, with a lineage stretching back 800 years, who would have been ideal material for any edition of ‘The Jeremy Kyle Show.’
Last night’s opener, the first of six, showed it’s not all hunky-dory down in the country as the family clash as eldest son and heir Arthur sought ideas on new ways to raise cash to maintain the ancient manor house he’ll one day inherit -- something that came too late for youngest brother Edmund who fell foul of a hole in the wall.
Leaving the Fulfords, a quick trip up the M5 takes us to the Birmingham suburb of Sparkhill, the capital of British Pakistan where a warm welcome awaits for the next six Friday evenings in the company of ‘Citizen Khan’ (BBC1).
Some critics panned this family-based sitcom as not being funny, but this third series shows how wrong they can be as we catch up on the trials and tribulations of loud-mouthed, tight-fisted, self-appointed community leader Mr Khan played by co-writer and radio presenter Adil Ray.
These three failing qualities are guaranteed to land him in trouble, something he does when the family return from a trip to Pakistan accompanied by his mother-in-law, Naani, who he is lumbered with looking after.
His troubles seem over when she decides to move into a care home run by Sally Lindsay (Shelley from ‘Coronation Street’), but when he think she’s worth £25,000 he does everything he can to keep in the Khan home.