The Windsors: Hilarious parody is comedy gold in a right royal satire
Cast members, including Morgana Robinson and Louise Ford, tell Keeley Bolger what viewers can expect from The Windsors, a hilarious parody of the royal family.
When it came to playing the royal family in new satirical comedy The Windsors, the cast kept two things in mind.
"They do a lot of smiling and waving," explains comedian Morgana Robinson, who plays Pippa Middleton. "That's the hardest bit, really," deadpans her co-star Louise Ford, who stars as Pippa's older sister, Kate.
Penned by George Jeffrie and Bert Tyler Moore, who co-created Star Stories, the six-part series - which also stars Harry Enfield as Prince Charles - is an exaggerated glance at the lives of the royals, where the Duchess of Cambridge is from a gypsy family and Prince William is an action hero in the vein of Tom Cruise.
"It's the real-life Windsors, but done as if they're in something like Dynasty, or Dallas," explains Tyler Moore. "It's a heightened and very silly parody version of reality."
Robinson and Ford co-star with Hugh Skinner and Richard Goulding, who play Princes William and Harry respectively.
The Camilla of this series is a cartoon villain who is hell-bent on becoming Queen, while Pippa Middleton is catty and highly envious of her older sister.
"I honed my Pippa skills through the medium of boarding school; I channelled all the girls I went to school with and basically put them all into one character," says Robinson, who also appears on comedies House of Fools and Toast of London.
"There's only one interview I've seen and she's very nervous - so much lovelier and very sweet compared to my version of her."
Prince Andrew is a failure; his daughters Beatrice and Eugenie are, according to Tyler Moore, "slightly dim girls", and the Queen and Prince Philip are physically absent.
"The Queen is so straight-laced and well-behaved and brilliant at being the Queen that there's not much comedy value in that," explains Goulding. "Whereas Philip puts himself in the limelight all the time, so there's some comedy gold in there."
Goulding says he can see shades of Prince Harry - "the party royal; the drinker, the shagger and the kind of idiot" - in other well-known figures.
"He's like the Boris Johnson of the royal family, without the brains," he says with a laugh. "But he's charming and silly, and used to making endless mistakes and getting away with it."
Easily led, this version of Harry is in a relationship with Pippa, who, Robinson notes, can "pull the wool over his eyes with a flash of her bottom".
For every sceptic who welcomes a royal ribbing, there's a royal super-fan ready to defend the monarchy. The cast are prepared for - but nonplussed by - the latter.
"I'm sure people will be offended without really knowing why," says Ford, who is in a relationship with Rowan Atkinson.
Robinson agrees, noting: "There's always someone who gets their knickers in a twist."
Goulding adds: "I don't think the comedy is right on the nail, or ripping it out of them. The narrative and the comedy of the narrative seem to be the main thing."
In preparation for playing William, Skinner, who plays another Will in W1A, considered having his hair thinned out.
"I was up for all of it, but they decided that because we look so different, maybe the gulf between the two of us would be more interesting," he explains.
"At one point, I thought about having marbles in my cheeks, like Marlon Brando, but I just learnt the lines in the end."
The Windsors, Channel 4, Friday, 10pm