Search This Blog

Saturday, September 28, 2013

'The Royal Bodyguard: Great Melange of 'Get Smart' and Britcom 'Spy'

Royal Bodyguard DVD
The 2011 Britcom "The Royal Bodyguard," which Canadian purveyor of great British programming BFS Entertainment has released to North American audiences on DVD, is like its main character Captain Guy Hubble in that it is denied the regard that it deserves. The tales of the royal family and of threats to domestic and international tranquility told via well-crafted traditional and mostly family friendly jokes and physical humor make it timeless.

The opening scenes of "Bodyguard's" pilot quickly establishes its premise by having retired military captain and current Buckingham Palace car-park attendant Hubble inadvertently spooking the horses who are pulling the carriage in which Queen Elizabeth II is riding and then rescuing her from the peril of his making. Watching this evokes thoughts of both the skit by the Queen and James Bond portrayor Daniel Craig in the 2012 Summer Olympics and the pilot of the truly hilarious (and award winning) Britcom "Spy," which Unreal TV reviewed several months ago, in which "ordinary bloke" Tim stumbles into a spot in the MI5 training program.

Hubble's "heroics" catch the attention of HRM, who has him promoted to the position of Royal Bodyguard to the consternation of both his new superior Colonel Dennis Whittington and the better-qualified security officer Yates, who was next-in-line for Hubble's new job. Yates' animosity is particularly intense and prompts him to give Hubble the boot in one episode.

Sir David Jason, best known for his starring role in "A Touch of Frost," does a great job portraying the same arrogance, naivety, and general simple-mindedness of Hubble as Don Adams and Steve Carell respectively achieved so well regarding Maxwell Smart in the "Get Smart" series and film. Geoffrey Whitehead's, who is best known to PBS Britcom fans as Dick on "The Worst Week of My Life," role as Whittington once again has Whitehead playing a victim of catastrophes of a well-meaning oaf who has rightfully earned his wrath.

Fans of the uber-hilarious Mel Brook '60s sitcom "Get Smart" can think of Hubble and Whittington as the current decade's Maxwell Smart and Chief. Literal echos of the late Don Adams and the late Edward Platt arguing about using the wonky cone of silence bombard the brains of viewers as Jason insists on following protocol even when doing so completely defies logic.

An example of the humor related to Hubble's strict adherence to the regulations forces him and Whittington to spend a physically and mentally uncomfortable night on a moor while trying to locate a younger member of the royal family who is enjoying a wild girls' night out. One can almost hear Hubble state the classic "Smart" catchphrases "Sorry about that, Chief" and "missed it by that much."

Also like "Smart," and to a lesser degree "Spy," "Bodyguard" expertly pulls off being amusing despite many jokes being very predictable. Some of the many examples include that one knows that Hubble will get his arm stuck in a vase that catches his attention and that he will pull the muffler off the underside of a car that he is examining for explosives; Jason's talent for this type of slapstick still elicits at least a chuckle. The same is true regarding a man who is wearing a police officer's uniform turning out to be a male stripper.

Much of the fun comes from seeing both how Hubble will turn things around after contributing to a potentially bad situation becoming a catastrophe and how he will manage to stay in his job to do it all over the following week.

The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, does a great job conveying the aforementioned arrogance, predictable slapstick, relationship with Yates, and rigid adherence to protocol that make "Bodyguard" a great show.

One can only hope either for a Christmas special in which baby George goes missing during a visit to see Father Christmas that Hubble is coordinating or that the "Get Smart" movie sequel will be "Agent Maxwell Smart 2: Destination London" and will have Smart and Hubble working together to thwart a plot against the royals.

Anyone with questions or comments about "Bodyguard" or "Smart" is welcome to email me. You can also track me down on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.