Harry and Meghan: stars of the screen.

Because the world has nothing better to be doing it has been announced that Harry and Meghan, the Mr and Mrs of Need No Introductions, have signed what is doubtless a very lucrative deal with Netflix. I imagine the negotiations were a barrel of laughs with Harry nervously twiddling his thumbs as Meghan, wearing a balaclava and fascinator bashed out a list of all the things she wanted. Her entitlements. Sorry, their entitlements. I’m sure she explained just how much Netflix needed this deal and probably gave some indication of how much they felt the public absolutely must need The Markles Of Montecito to be splashed across the public screen, especially since their last televisual triumph – ‘Harry and Meghan: how to depress an elephant’.

I would say, without a hint of exaggeration, that a Harry and Meghan TV brand is possibly the last thing that humanity needs right now, or indeed ever will. What’s really scary is not that they feel they have something useful to prove or that they have no concept of what ‘backfiring’ means but that they have so many ideas rolling around in their heads that they seem to be poised to tackle almost every format available. To quote:

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be producing films and series for the streaming platform, including scripted series, docu-series, documentaries, features and children’s programming.

If that doesn’t sound scary to you then you must be on the funny end of a spectrum. For instance what does ‘scripted series’ mean? A sitcom called ‘Where Are My Trousers?’? A gripping spy thriller ? An against the odds romcom about love across a cultural divide or a dreary sporting drama that follows some plucky chap who decides to host his own event, totally in keeping with the odds of being, oh I don’t know, a member of a royal family? When they say ‘films’ do they mean actual films; proper productions, our heroine weeping softly before a sinking sun as a Hans Zimmer (they probably lunched together recently) score passes round the bucket. And do children really need advice and motivation from a couple with their background of childhood? It’ll certainly be confusing, but then isn’t that exactly what ‘Haghen’ do best – confusion and self-pity disguised as experience and wisdom.

Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps I’m not. It’s just that, after all that’s gone before I sort of wince when I read them saying that: “Through our work with diverse communities and their environments…………..our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope………….(and) powerful storytelling through a truthful and relatable lens.” Because I can’t think of a couple less relatable to real life as theirs. Their work with diverse communities is all based on a privilege few can even imagine (though Penny Junor does try to help us understand) – to sleep wild, beneath the African sky………next to their security team and personal chef. As for hope, well it’s quite easy to have hope when you have millions in the bank and a global media force like Netflix prepared to kiss your combined arse and everything that comes out of it. The world waits with some form of breath or other, but I’m not holding mine. I wonder if I can ask Netflix for a discount.

G B Hewitt, 02.09.2020

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