King Charles III aired on Wednesday night, causing controversy among viewers. The what-if BBC drama narrates what might happen if Prince Charles becomes monarch, and has scenes featuring the Queen's funeral and the ghost of Diana, Princess of Wales. While the show spawned a critical reaction from some, former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond has praised the BBC2 programme.
"It's a terrific piece of theatre and Tim Pigott-Smith was wonderful as the lead," Jennie said during an appearance on Good Morning Britain. "I don't think people will be too shocked by these scenes of the Queen's funeral but it takes you into the whole dilemma which could face Prince Charles, when as King people will expect him to be neutral in everything."
The journalist went on to defend the decision to include Diana's ghost, played by actress Katie Brayben, saying: "It is a difficult issue but Mike Bartlett who wrote the play felt that Diana was and is integral to the framework of that family." Jennie added that the royal family will have been briefed about the show, but probably won't watch it.
Kate and Prince Charles, played by Charlotte Riley and Tim Pigott-Smith
King Charles III is a screen adaptation of the play of the same name. It premiered on the West End in 2014 followed by a short run on Broadway. Many of the original cast members who starred in the play have gone on to reprise their roles in the TV adaptation, with Tim Pigott-Smith as Charles. Despite the controversy, many viewers praised the late actor, who died unexpectedly last month before the BBC show aired.
Viewers praised Tim Pigott-Smith for playing King Charles III
"#KingCharlesIII was as brilliant as the play. Amazing production and of course amazing acting from the late Tim Piggot-Smith," wrote one fan. Another commented: "#KingCharlesIII was absolutely spectacular. Great send off for Tim Pigott-Smith. Couldn't take my eyes off him." Some fans called for Tim, 70, to be honoured with a BAFTA. "King Charles III is absolute Shakespeare. Tim Pigott-Smith needs to be given a posthumous BAFTA immediately #KingCharlesIII," wrote one viewer.
King Charles III is released on DVD and digital download on 15th May.