I’m hanging up my red Regency dress…
…having finally finished filming for a new TV series about the naughty Prince Regent and his age. Back in January, when we started, I loved my red dress, a design which fortuitously turned out to be called ‘The Beau’ (as in Brummell). By July I was sick of the sight of it.
(Before you ask impertinent questions about my personal hygiene, yes, I had two identical dresses, so one could always be at the cleaner’s).
Let me fill you in on this Regency project – it’s in three parts, for brilliant BBC4 once again (yes, the brainy channel). The Prince Regent officially became ‘acting king’ in 1811, two hundred years ago, and the series is probably going to be called Elegance and Decadence (two lovely words which seem to sum up his nine-years reign as Regent before he properly became King George IV in 1820). When all is edited I think we’ll have an hour on the corpulent Prince of Whales himself, beginning of course at our beautiful Kew Palace where he grew up, great events and great artists (Lawrence and Turner) and the Battle of Waterloo. Episode Two is planned to be about architecture, Brighton Pavilion, Windsor Castle, the property market and the middle classes, and there’s a bit of my all-time favourite Regency person Jane Austen. We finish with an hour of sedition, violent protest, the Peterloo Massacre, industrialisation, royal divorce and dissent. Fun, huh?
The final day’s filming which eventually happened last week was cancelled about six times because of the WIND, as it involved floating in a hot air balloon over the elegant city of Bath on a still summer morning. Blissful, you might think, unless, like me … you hate heights.
I spent most of the journey crouched in the bottom of the tiny basket, popping up only for pieces-to-camera, and all the while our crew called out things like ‘It’s amazing!’ and ‘I’ve never seen anything so wonderful!’ (In the pictures, left, I’m pretending to enjoy myself.)
Then we landed in a field, fell over onto our side and got dragged along through the wet grass.
Once we were (semi-) safely down, I felt glad that I’d done it, but I won’t be queuing up to get into a balloon again any time soon. But I must admit it was worth it for this fascinating project.