Elizabeth Taylor: Auction of a Lifetime Review

ELIZABETH TAYLOR – AUCTION OF A LIFETIME: Wednesday 18th April, C4, 9pm

It’s certainly startling that, during a financial crisis, anybody could green light footage of an increasingly deflated-looking Joan Collins handpicking her favourite stupidly expensive designs from a jewellery auction catalogue. But that’s exactly what the makers of Elizabeth Taylor: Auction of a Lifetime have done, they’ve come up with a documentary featuring staggeringly stupid insights from the likes of Joan Collins, Liza Minnelli and the author of My Love Affair with Jewellery—which yes, is a real book.

The programme highlights the life of film icon Elizabeth Taylor, and the auctioning off of her enormous collection of shiny things. It’s difficult to care about what everybody in the documentary seems to be getting so enthused about. The auction is for charity, but most of the people who are interviewed are pretty unlikable, with Joan Collins immediately establishing herself as particularly annoying. At one stage she handpicks one of her favourite pieces and says, with a grin, “This one! Only £30,000!â€?

That certainly seems like a lot of dough for something that looks as if it could have been drunkenly purchased from a shopping channel at 2:30 in the morning. QVC is good enough for most women of Joan’s age surely, so why not her? Is she yet to learn of the wonders of panzoto-panzanite and diamonique? It’s just like diamond, but it costs much less than the average Brit earns in a year. In fact, it costs about fifteen quid, and sometimes the QVC presenters even throw in a beautiful set of commemorative Prince Charles tissues with your order as well.

Other interviewees are somewhat more likable than Collins, although most of them are still living firmly under the belief that blowing millions of dollars on jewellery is completely commendable. It also turns out that Joan Collins’ taste in diamonds is actually quite cheap. Many pieces in the auction went for well over a million pounds, and all in all, $150 million for charity was raised. It’s absolutely astonishing, and the programme does attempt to explain why some of these pieces are so expensive.

Fortunately, the focus isn’t entirely on the auction—that would have been exceptionally boring. There is a great deal of biography as well, but the focus remains primarily on necklaces, rings and pendants. However, for fans of the film star, I’m sure that this programme offers very few new insights into the woman herself. There’s also little mention of charity, which seemed like the whole point of the auction. And this is what lets Elizabeth Taylor: Auction of a Lifetime down. It just seems very shallow, and at times, incredibly irritating.

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