Gary Barlow – On Her Majesty’s Service Review


Two famously sentimental songwriters, coming together to create a piece of music so unimaginably bland and derivative that the BBC believe it warrants it’s own documentary you say? In honour of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee you say? Gary Barlow ‘jamming’ with Andrew Lloyd-Webber you say?

This is almost too much! I’m not sure I can stomach something quite so schmaltzy. But surely a documentary about the making of a dull piece of music can’t be that unwatchable. After all, Gary Barlow doesn’t seem like a bad person. In fact, he’s probably quite nice in real life.

It’s true that Gary comes across as very likeable and he seems to genuinely care about his work. Interestingly enough, the programme begins with the song’s melody already written, which it turns out, is great, because this is largely where Andrew Lloyd Webber’s part ends. To be honest, Webber doesn’t seem particularly invested in the song at all and we soon learn that this is very much Gary’s brainchild. Poor old Andrew probably can’t wait to get back to his bath-chair.

After a meeting with Prince Charles, Gary’s advised to visit all the countries that Britain has previous invaded over the years and steal their musical heritage to honour our queen. However, first Gary must look up “commonwealthâ€? on Wikipedia.

“It’s massive,â€? he says, surprised. “I mean… MASSIVE!â€?

It seems unlikely that he’ll make it to all of the countries, but he’s determined to do so. First he’s off to Kenya, which, he explains, is of great historical significance. It was there, in 1952, that a young Elizabeth Winsor learned that her father had died and that she was Queen. Gary uses this thought to bash out some lyrics and then he meets some locals. He asks a few of the kids about what they know about the Queen.

“She’s a great swimmer,â€? says one of the kids.

Gary’s not convinced, but he’s also not entirely sure that the Queen isn’t a good swimmer either. Perhaps he should have put a line about this in his lyrics?

From this point onwards, Gary goes all over the globe in search of exotic musicians and singers. How’s the finished song? Well it’s not my taste but I reckon the flag-waving masses will go mad for it..

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