Parvizi Watches: Undercover Princesses
‘Cue three women from three politically redundant royal houses: from Uganda Princess Sheillah, India Princess Aaliya, who bears no resemblance to the deceased hip-hop stunner and from the political powerhouse of Saxony Princess Xenia.’
With 6 Music and Asian Network facing closure the poor old Beeb has faced a barrage of criticism; who knew that Stephen Hawking was an avid fan of Bhangra or that Dot Cotton wakes up to Shaun Keaveny on 6 Music? And let’s be honest I’m with Mahmud Ahmadinejad when it comes to his views on Twitter if it leads to Stephen Fry’s myriad bandwagons breaking down – the man tips up at the opening of an envelope.
But despite Mark Thompson’s (Director-General of the BBC) dismal week there is now a shimmer of hope for MT and the boys at Television Centre and it comes in the form of Undercover Princesses on BBC3. For those of you who remember the last series, which funnily enough followed three princes, it proved to be a bank of comedy gold – the homophobic Prince Africa Zulu’s preferred chat-up, whilst holding a mobile phone to a worried looking girl, “Can you tell my aunty I have died?” whilst the gay Prince Manvendra charmed Brighton’s finest.
But could the girls be luckier in love? Cue three women from three politically redundant royal houses: from Uganda Princess Sheillah, India Princess Aaliya, who bears no resemblance to the deceased hip-hop stunner and from the political powerhouse of Saxony Princess Xenia.
Taking the format from Eddie Murphy’s ‘Coming to America’, which saw a prince arriving in the U.S. looking for real love, the girls are brought to charming Chelmsford where a Prince Charmless declaims “Do you want to slide up and down my pole?” to a shocked Princess Aaliya. Two of the girls decide to change names, Xenia decides to transform herself into Gabi and starts working in a hair salon where she meets Elliot, an oaf of a guy, with even less of a personality. None of the men know that the princesses are actually royal, but this still doesn’t explain how Elliot manages to act cool when Xenia, a pretty, young blonde hottie asks him out on a date. Enigmatic Elliot shrugs his shoulders in agreement.
Princess Sheillah opts for the truly covert option of calling herself Cinderella, which surely must be the equivalent of a CIA operative calling himself Georgie Wubya in Kandahar? And the Indian Princess Aaliya keeps her name when she is placed in a cricket shop – playing it safe BBC? With that logic Princess Sheillah should be working in an African hair salon, and the German Xenia the Imperial War Museum.
There’s no prizes for guessing that Xenia proves to be the biggest hit with lads down Chelmsford’s bars and pubs, whilst the frumpy Aaliya and rather scary Sheillah watch on disapprovingly at what they undoubtedly see as the downfall of Western civilisation – Essex nights out. Despite their inability to use ovens, or bake cakes, the real stars of this show are the people of Essex, who are at times vile but more often incredibly friendly, hospitable and willing to help these three foreign girls in finding true love.
So before we turf Marky Mark and his band of brothers out of the Beeb for daring to save money by cutting stations that have minimal listeners or viewers, let’s commend him for Undercover Princesses, but keep your paws off BBC7 Thompson as I need my weekly dose of Poirot or Marple.