Interview with Bert Tyler-Moore & George Jeffrie for The Windsors
What is new this series?
George: We have Harry’s new girlfriend Meghan Markle portrayed as a strong, independent woman in control of her own life but she wants to marry a prince and live in a fairy castle.
Where does this new series pick-up from?
George: It picks up from where the real royal family are now. Or where they were when we were filming.
Bert: For example Pippa’s got a new fiancé who is a psychopath hedge funder, but she's still very jealous of Kate.
George: There are similar themes to series one: Wills is looking for a role; Beatrice and Eugenie are looking for a job, Prince Andrew is still wheeling and dealing.
Bert: Kate is still our heroine although this series she starts to get a little bit grander, she likes envisaging herself when she is going to be The Queen.
George: We slightly changed Wills because it came out in the news that he wanted to be more of a hands on dad, whereas in the first series and Christmas special he was much more into his helicopter flying.
How would you describe the show to someone who hasn’t seen it before?
George: A Ken Loach docudrama.
Bert: It’s the real members of the royal family but in a very over the top comedy soap drama.
How do you both keep coming up with new ideas, where do you get your inspiration from?
Bert: Very much from real events, like Wills being a hands on dad. We also found out he had been fast tracked in his helicopter training and we made that into a story.
George: We do a lot of research, well we read the Mail Online a lot, it’s all stories in the press that are out there.
Bert: So in real life Beatrice was signed up to be a motivational speaker so we’ve got her and Eugenie doing that. They address a factory of steel workers at Port Talbot and save the British steel industry.
George: And we sometimes give a nod to classic stories and fairy tales- we’re not suggesting Charles has an identical twin locked up in a tower but he does in our show.
Bert: In the Christmas special what Anne was up to was very much drawn from Rebecca - the creepy housekeeper character. It’s always fun to get those movie or literature references in the show.
Speaking of Anne, what made you decide to bring the character back?
Bert: She turned out to be so good and Vicki Pepperdine’s performance was so funny. She’s also a good contrast to the other characters as she’s so austere and grim and everyone else is so extravagant and indulgent.
George: Yes everyone else is living the highlife except Anne who lives on dog biscuits.
Sometimes do Royal events overtake you?
George: Pippa kept her wedding quite close to her chest so we didn’t know the date until we had virtually finished filming so she’s engaged for most of our series. Things like that can be a bit tricky but hopefully people understand how it works, we’re not mind readers.
Are The Queen and Prince Philip going to be in this series?
Bert: We tend to avoid The Queen as she isn’t as silly as the others. She never makes a fool of herself, she’s never organised It’s a Royal Knockout or built a silly town on the outskirts of Dorchester like Charles. Philip is sort of tangentially in the show through his abusive letters and telegrams.
Royalty seems to be enjoying a lot of popularity on screen, with The Windsors; The Crown; King Charles III etc. Why do you think we have this enduring fascination with the royals?
George: We think it’s funny that people are fascinated by them. Kings Charles III and The Crown are fantastic, but we really like trying to do something different.
Why did you decide to base the show around The Windsors?
Bert: We thought they would be good to take the piss out of and no one has done it for a while.
George: Everyone is very deferential about the royal family even now. Some of the BBC’s coverage is like being back in the 1950’s. Nicholas Witchell’s news reports are like Pathé news reels.
Bert: When we were first thinking about it, it wasn’t that long since Kate and Wills’ Royal wedding and that was seen like this wonderful thing and its fine if you think that but there’s quite a few people who wouldn’t mind taking the mickey.
Do you have any favourite characters or storylines from The Windsors?
George: I like Prince Charles’ identical twin, even though that’s got no bearing on reality. Although it’s fair to say, the twin has been locked up by mistake because they were going to lock Charles up for being embarrassing. Prince Andrew is always funny - he’s a bit like our Terry- Thomas.
Bert: And Edward we both quite like as he’s sort of our age, and we’ve watched him muddling through his life. You may think it’s unfair he has all this privilege but I probably wouldn’t do anything with it either. And the way Matthew Cottle plays him is very funny.
Do you ever worry about offending royalists?
George: No we wouldn’t mind that.