Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Royal drama King Charles III splits critics who describe it as ‘unmissable’ and ‘puerile fantasy’

King Charles III (BBC/Drama Republic)
King Charles III (BBC/Drama Republic)

THE BBC’s controversial royal drama has sparked mixed reviews, with critics calling it both “puerile fantasy” and a “spot-on political thriller”.

King Charles III – adapted from a successful stage play – depicted the monarchy after the Queen’s death, with the Prince of Wales succeeding his mother but sparking a constitutional crisis.

The one-off drama, on BBC Two, featured the ghost of Diana and portrayed the Duchess of Cambridge as a “schemer”.

Kate Middleton portrayed by Charlotte Riley (BBC/Drama Republic)
Kate Middleton portrayed by Charlotte Riley (BBC/Drama Republic)

The Daily Mail’s Christopher Stevens awarded King Charles III zero stars.

He called the drama “puerile fantasy”, described the plot as “ludicrous” and added that “in the entire 90 minutes there wasn’t a word of sense”.

He said that “much of it was grindingly dull claptrap”, criticised the “phony Shakespearean verse” and concluded: “Shameful, vile, pathetic tosh.”

The Sun’s Andy Halls gave it two stars, writing: “This wasn’t a drama, it was a comedy. Not a good one.”

King Charles III (BBC/Drama Republic)
King Charles III (BBC/Drama Republic)

He added: “It felt as if the actors had been chosen more for their likeness to their character than their ability to play the part.”

But The Telegraph called King Charles III “majestic, unmissable drama” and showered it with five stars.

The newspaper’s Jasper Rees branded it “pure televisual gelignite” and added: “It may never be possible to view the Duchess of Cambridge in quite the same light, with Charlotte Riley riveting as a dark-eyed schemer goading her husband to patricidal treachery.”

The Guardian’s Sam Wollaston was also impressed, saying that there were “some fine displays of acting” and that the late Tim Pigott-Smith, in one of his final appearances on screen, was “mesmerising as Charles”.

Tim Pigott-Smith in King Charles III (BBC/Drama Republic)
Tim Pigott-Smith in King Charles III (BBC/Drama Republic)

For the most part, it is “a spot-on political thriller that gains in momentum, tapping into phone hacking, asking questions about the role of the anachronism that is the royal family in the 21st century and about the importance of public image and popularity along the way”, he wrote.

“It’s funny… as well as apposite and tragic.”

Viewers on social media called for Pigott-Smith to be awarded a Bafta for the performance while the show’s creators dedicated the programme to him in the final credits.

But several fans disapproved of the scenes of Diana’s ghost.