Five of Queen Elizabeth II’s Favourite Television Shows

We decided to remember—and to relate—to the passing of Queen Elizabeth by recalling the television shows that she loved and shared with her citizens

With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, it’s time to look back and remember Her Royal Majesty

Much attention will be given to Queen Elizabeth’s legendary 70-year reign on the throne, but it’s just as important to remember her as a person, and as a mother, wife and grandmother.

Queen Elizabeth kept much of her private life very private indeed, but when she was asked about what she enjoyed in her time off, she did open up. We decided to rememberand to relateto the passing of Queen Elizabeth by recalling the television shows that she loved and shared with her citizens.

1. Doctor Who

This one might have been the biggest surprise for us! Doctor Who first premiered on November 23, 1963, the day after President Kennedy was shot in Dallas.

Throughout the years, British newspapers have published several stories about the Queen’s fondness for Britain’s Time Lord, including mentions about her being not too thrilled when the long-running sci-fi program was cancelled in 1989 after its first run of 26 seasons.

When Doctor Who was rebooted in 2005, it starred Christopher Eccleston as the ninth incarnation of the Doctor. Eccleston was Queen Elizabeth’s favourite version of Doctor.

She even requested a set DVDs of Eccleston’s run so she could watch them during a summer stay at her castle in Balmoral.

Then there was that one episode when the Time Lord traveled back in time to meet and romance Elizabeth II’s predecessor, Elizabeth the First…

2. Downton Abbey

Who isn’t a fan of Downton? Elizabeth certainly was, but she also had a special reason to enjoy the program that the average person couldn’t relate to.

It turns out that Queen Elizabeth used to spend time at Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey is filmed. Elizabeth was a frequent guest at the invitation of the Carnarvon family, the residents of Highclere. She knew the grounds and rooms well, and would enjoy seeing how close the depiction of the show’s setting matched her memories of Highclere.

Elizabeth’s keen eye would also catch the moments when Downton Abbey’s set decorator didn’t quite get things right, according to a source who told The Telegraph: “In one programme she was watching, the Queen noticed that a British officer was wearing medals that were from the wrong era. It was set in the First World War but the medals he was wearing did not come in until the Second World War.”

There are other stories of Downton slip-ups that the Queen caught, which makes a lot of sense since she lived through those times and knows firsthand what people wore, acted and lived like.

The cast of Downton Abbey talked about visits to the set by the royal family and what their experience was like. Watch the clip below beginning at the 2:30 mark:

3. The Kumars at No. 42

A British sitcom about an Indian family residing in London, The Kumars at No. 42 ran for seven seasons in the first two decades of the 2000s. The success of the series caught the attention of NBC executives who considered making an Americanized version of the show, but ultimately that project never came to pass.

Queen Elizabeth was once asked by a journalist an off-the-record question about what her favourite television program was. The journalist, Phil Jones, said that he could not report on what the Queen said to him because “I was told by a BBC executive that, on pain of death, journalists should never reveal their conversations with the monarch.”

It turns out that Elizabeth’s favourite character on The Kumars was the matriarch of the household, Granny Kumar played by Meera Syal. The Queen began to quote numerous one-liners that the Granny had dropped on her family during the show’s run, showing her familiarity with the down-to-earth character.

Get a taste of what the situational comedy of The Kumars was like in this clip from the series:

 4. Coronation Street

There are not many TV series that could compete with Queen Elizabeth II’s longevitybut if there’s a main contenderit would have to be Coronation Street.

With over 10,000 episodes broadcast since the show’s debut in 1960, Coronation Street is a staple of English culture as much as fish and chips. Set in the fictional town of Weatherfield, the soap follows the daily lives of average English people, their ups and downs. Elizabeth was a devout fan of the program, even going as far as to have tapes recorded and mailed to her when she had to take international trips.

There’s even a report that when President George Bush visited England in 2003, the Queen was upset that she had to miss out watching Coronation Street and greet him. That’s relatable even for some Americans.

Just last year Queen Elizabeth finally visited the set of Coronation Street. The production rolled out the red carpet to greet their royal fan.

5. The X-Factor

Reality television and the Queen of England are a real thing.

In 2010, Irish contestant Mary Byrne went on The X-Factor to take her shot at stardom. While Byrne made it to the semi-finals, she ultimately placed seventh in the year’s standings. That didn’t prevent the singer from signing a contract with Sony Music and eventually becoming a top 10 Irish singer.

One year after appearing on The X-Factor, Mary Byrne met with the Queen at an event. During their conversation it was overheard that the Queen instantly recognized Mary and told her that she never missed an episode of the TV show. Elizabeth was a big fan of Mary’s singing.