Danny Dyer singing, in a codpiece? You may ke think you’re dreaming but this is reality as Dyer stars in a two-part BBC documentary on his royal ancestors. In a 2017 episode of Who Do You Think You Are? Dyer discovered that among other royal connections he is a direct descendant of Edward III and related to Thomas Cromwell and William the Conqueror. Not one to disappoint, Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family explores these connections in more detail offering the viewer an expansive insight into both Dyer and England’s history. As expected, there are several funny moments — Ds; Dyyer playing a lute, attending a sugar banquet, tasting sheep’s tongue and fighting in a full suit of armour, but the series is also informative and allows key historical figures to be accessed in an easy manner.
Whilst some have been quick to criticise the documentary such as Tom Utley of the Mail Online who viewed the series as a dumbing down of history and accused the BBC of cashing in on Dyer’s celebrity status,; the series has received much praise and popularity on social media. For me, the light-hearted approach and Dyer’s unique observations only add to the shows’ success and it seems perfect for a generation brought up on Horrible Histories. The documentary is basically Horrible Histories grown- up and presented by its’ naughty older brother.
Dyer’s Hands on commitment to history is also commendable whether he’s riding a horse, rowing a Viking boat or walking down a Parisian alley, barefoot with sewage running down the middle, he is always happy to get involved and has genuine enthusiasm for the history he learns and the experts he meets. His journey sees him travel to Paris, Sweden, Berkeley castle, Leeds Castle, Helmingham Hall and Dover Castle and learn about Rollo, a Viking and the first Duke of Normandy, William the Conqueror, Henry II, St Louis IX of France, Edward II of England, Sir John Seymour and Henry ‘Hotspur’ Percy. Dyer examine nearly 800 years of history and at several moments throughout the series seems genuinely moved by the lives and actions of his ancestors. The finale of the series sees Dyer inviting his whole family to an Elizabethan banquet, his (wife, Jo and children, Dani, Sunnie, and Arty, ) which seems a fitting end to a series focussed on family.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Dyer stepping out of the Queen Vic on a regular basis to present more documentaries given the popularity of the series and this could be the start of a new era in Dyer’s career. I also have a feeling that the Dyer clan will become TV regulars with Dyer’s daughter Dani already appearing on Love Island.
Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family is a must watch series so pull up a chair and start watching or as Dyer would say ‘get right stuck in gorging on my ancestors’ lives’ and prepare yourself for a ‘right nutty royal caper.’’
Both episodes are available on iPlayer.