Readers, I offer a festive game for you all. This holiday season, if you find yourself at a loose end with nothing appealing to watch on TV, go onto Netflix, type in the word ‘Christmas’ and scroll through the dozens upon dozens of identikit titles and posters.
Pick any one at random – it really doesn’t matter, they’re all pretty much exactly the same. Then simply sit back and enjoy the parade of poorly green-screened sets, impromptu snowball fights, kindly old men who may or may not secretly be Santa and vaguely recognisable TV actors learning that the true spirit of Christmas involves hitting the PG-13 bone zone with the sensitive yet improbably sculpted baker/innkeeper/puppy doctor they recently reunited with under the mistletoe.
The Princess Switch is at least at the higher end of all this nonsense, operating as something of a flagship for Netflix’s cheap and cheerful homegrown festive catalogue on release last year. High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens plays the dual role in a sort of millennial retelling of the Prince and the Pauper. She’s the baker (read – Pauper) in this one, struggling to move on from a bad breakup until her best friend and loyal sous-chef(?) signs her up for a TV baking show in the fictional European kingdom of Belgravia.
On arrival she runs into the reigning Prince’s reclusive soon-to-be-bride Duchess Margaret of Montenara, also played by Hudgens. After quickly making peace with the fact that they seem for all intents and purposes to be genetically identical, the two hit on a scheme to trade lives and see how the other half lives. Before you can say ‘worn out movie trope’, Duchess Hudgens is falling head over heels for the down to earth sous-chef, while Baker Hudgens is teaching the royal Prince to better connect with his subjects.
In this week’s podcast, two of our favourite ghosts of Christmas past make a festive comeback as Joe Timothy and Oli Ajulo return to the show to share their thoughts on Belgravian dynastic politics, distracting background extras, outrageous Christmas tree budgets and much, more. They also help us out with some drinking games, judge our crop of listener submissions and pitch some sequel ideas…
You can download or stream this week’s episode absolutely free using the links at the top of this blog post, or by searching for Beyond The Box Set on your preferred podcast app. If you like the show, please leave us a rating and a review, and check out our extended episodes, exclusively available on our Patreon channel.
Next week, we’ll be wrapping up another festive season with a listener request dubbed one of the worst Holiday movies of recent years. Until then, happy listening… and never trust a bearded festive stranger. Or your newly discovered identical twin…