Picks and Pans Review: Unauthorized Biography: the Royals

updated 06/05/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/05/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Syndicated (Mon., June 5 through June 17. Check local listings)

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Not suffering from royal saturation yet? This special on Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Diana, Fergie and those other British royals eagerly rehashes information, gossip and issues that would seem old if, for example, you'd been shipwrecked for three years. How come, despite the Queen's vast empire and wealth, she can't control her children? Are Di and Fergie still friends? What's going on between Charles and Di these days? Why did Prince Edward quit the macho marines to work in the theater?

Royal biographers and Fleet Street journalists appear to ponder these tired, speculative questions as though they had only just popped up. Observes antimonarchist author Piers Brendon of the royal family: "Americans may find them cute, but living with them is like being locked permanently in Disneyland." Previous Unauthorized Biography subjects were Jane Fonda and Richard Nixon, and both of them remained interesting under the show's treatment. This two-hour special, though, is more padded than a royal mattress.

Jeff Jarvis is on special assignment.

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