STV Productions to make series on Royal Family and its relationship with press

Glasgow-based STV Productions has been commissioned to produce a documentary series for Channel 5 offering a “fresh exploration of the Royal Family, told through their compelling and often troubled relationship with the British press”.
One episode explores Princess Diana’s relationship with the tabloids. Picture: Tim Graham Photo Library.One episode explores Princess Diana’s relationship with the tabloids. Picture: Tim Graham Photo Library.
One episode explores Princess Diana’s relationship with the tabloids. Picture: Tim Graham Photo Library.

The production arm of STV Group said each of the four, hour-long episodes provides a new take on the biggest royal stories of the last 60 years, told through “sensational royal scoops, iconic pictures and most memorable front pages”.

The series, which will be delivered this month, “tells the story for a new generation with a fresh perspective”.

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STV Productions said the episodes mirror the social history of the time, and include one exploring Diana’s relationship with the press, Diana Vs The Tabloids; and three titled The Palace and the Press: Held to Account/Young Royals Under Fire/Royals Behaving Badly.

The production company said: “The House of Windsor might consider the tabloids to be a nuisance – but there’s no denying the role of the popular press when it comes to holding the Royal Family to account. But is this intrusion into their personal lives justified? This new series questions both sides of the debate, the difference between what is public interest and what’s interesting to the public.”

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STV Productions noted the tabloids investigating Princess Margaret’s “lavish” lifestyle, raising questions about Prince Charles’ ability to be king, and looking into Prince Andrew’s friendships.

The production company also said the series – narrated by actor Rupert Penry-Jones (Spooks, Silk, Whitechapel) – “adopts innovative and stylistic ways of bringing both iconic and lesser-known archive to life, combined with revelatory interviews from journalists of the time”. The commissioning editor for Channel 5 is Lucy Willis, and the executive producer for STV Productions is John Redshaw.

New perspective

Craig Hunter, creative director, factual for STV Productions, said: “Revisiting the stories that made the news, while hearing from the journalists who wrote the headlines, gives a whole new perspective to the royal scandals we think we know.” The series will be distributed internationally by DCD Rights, which has already secured a pre-sale to SBS Australia for broadcast following its UK premiere.

The announcement of the series is the latest by STV Productions, which recently said it was set to help bring to the small screen a “complex and multi-layered” true crime story of the Jigsaw Murders on a show it expected to have “tremendous appeal”.

Furthermore, STV Productions also earlier this year said it had been co-commissioned by broadcasters Discovery-owned Really and STV to produce a new “heart-warming” series titled Clear Out Cash In. The format was described as following Yorkshire auctioneer Angus Ashworth and his team as they clear out houses full of trinkets, treasure and junk, “transforming former family homes to empty shells, ready for sale”.

STV Productions also said in January that it had secured an order for Antiques Road Trip and Celebrity Antiques Road Trip for the BBC – the largest ever order for the two series at 140 episodes in total.

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