Dame Darcey Bussell has 'always had a deep and abiding affection for the Queen', and has enjoyed meeting Her Majesty on a number of occasions over the years, making Darcey Bussell’s Royal Road Trip the perfect show for her to make.
To mark The Queen’s 70-year reign, the former Royal Ballet principal — and former Strictly Come Dancing judge — was thrilled to embark on an adventure around the UK to explore the places that have shaped our monarch’s identity in a new More4 travelogue, Darcey Bussell’s Royal Road Trip.
Here’s everything we know about the new series…
Darcey Bussell’s Royal Road Trip: When does it start?
The four-part series begins on Tuesday, July 19 at 9 pm on More4.
Each episode will see Dame Darcey visit a different region of the country where she will sample some of Her Majesty’s favorite pastimes, including hiking in the Scottish Highlands and horse racing at Ascot.
Darcey Bussell’s Royal Road Trip: The Scottish Highlands (Episode 1)
Darcey begins her trip in Scotland, where she finds out what it’s like to have the Queen as a neighbour from those who live near the private royal residence Balmoral. And Darcey has a pretty good idea of why the Queen loves it there so much.
“I’d say it’s the environment,” says Darcey. “You’re in one of the most beautiful spots – it’s so diverse with mountains, lochs, and rivers, and all the flora and fauna. It holds everything she loves about the outdoors. It’s a very special spot for the Royal Family and it comes with a lot of family history, complete with some of her happiest moments.”
Darcey Bussell’s Royal Road Trip: What else does Darcey get up to Episode 1?
“We went to beautiful Braemar, where the Highland Games are held, which was a real highlight,” recalls Darcey. “Although we weren’t there while the Games were on, you could sense this is a very treasured tradition and you felt the excitement of those who organise it and take part. I really loved my time there. I went fly-fishing and did a bit of Scottish dancing, too!”
Darcey Bussell’s Royal Road Trip: London and the South-East (Episode 2)
In Richmond Park, Darcey visits the hunting lodge where the Queen spent the first year of her life. She also explores some of her favorite haunts in London’s West-End, and heads to Ascot to learn about Her Majesty’s love of horse racing…
“There’s a palpable buzz in the air for everyone who attends such a beautiful racecourse like Ascot,” says Darcey.
“For the Queen, it wouldn’t be the betting or the picking of a potential winner. Instead, her love is seeing her horses in action, which is an exhilarating experience. She knows what goes into making a great racehorse, so to be there, watching her own horses offers huge excitement. For Her Majesty, this is not just a passion, it’s a complete, lifelong love.”
Darcey Bussell’s Royal Road Trip: Norfolk (Episode 3)
The third leg starts at the secret royal entrance to a beach just a few miles from the Queen’s country retreat of Sandringham. It’s also party time at the Sandringham Women’s Institute, where Darcey meets the local members who know Her Majesty personally.
Darcey Bussell’s Royal Road Trip: Wales and West Country (Episode 4)
The adventure ends in Wales, where Darcey discovers the birthplace of the Queen’s beloved pet, the corgi. Then, in Monmouthshire, she visits one of 70 ancient forests being celebrated for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Darcey Bussell’s Royal Road Trip: So why HAS Darcey made a documentary on The Queen?
“I really respect her great generosity, the strength in her life and purpose,” reveals Darcey. “We all go through tough times but we’re not all in the public eye of the world — you really have to respect that it takes lots of hard work and dedication to cope with that pressure.
“She’s utterly devoted to her job as the monarch and, when you start to understand all those responsibilities, it’s incredible. She knows the difference she makes to a lot of people. I discovered on this journey that she’s very much in touch with the real world, more than most of us probably give her credit for.”
Darcey Bussell’s Royal Road Trip: Didn’t Darcey meet The Queen in 2018?
Yes, that’s right. Darcey was awarded her Damehood for services to dance by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. And she has fond memories of her big day…
“Gosh, I remember nearly being late, which was a bit terrifying because they’d closed off The Mall, so I had to walk further than I wanted to in very high heels! The whole build-up was really exciting because both my daughters were able to come. We knew we were going to go into the Throne Room, but we didn’t know that the Queen was actually going to be presiding."
“What was important to me was not just that it was lovely to be recognised for my work, but to also collect this honour on behalf of my profession of ballet as a whole. To have the Royal Family's support for the Arts is incredibly valuable."
Darcey Bussell’s Royal Road Trip: Is there a trailer?
There's no trailer yet, but as soon as one is released we will add it to this guide.
Get the What to Watch Newsletter
The latest updates, reviews and unmissable series to watch and more!
With over 20 years’ experience writing about TV and film, Vicky currently writes features for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week magazines plus news and watching guides for WhatToWatch.com, a job which involves chatting to a whole host of famous faces. Our Vicky LOVES light entertainment, with Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK among her fave shows. Basically, if it’s got a shiny floor, she’s all over it! When she’s not watching TV, you might find Vicky in therapy… retail therapy that is!