Channel Nine’s serving of The Queen’s Castle last night was boring television at its most banal. Crikey is not being anti-royal in making this criticism, because the program should have been riveting. After all, Windsor Castle is not only the world’s oldest inhabited castle, it’s the most sumptuous and interesting.

The hour-long serve was billed as a “journey to the heart of the castle” as preparations were made for the arrival of French President Chiraq on a state visit. Viewers were certainly taken on a tour of “downstairs” at work – polishing silver and gold, the exact art of setting a table for over 100 guests, the removal of furniture to make room for pre dinner drinks.

Fascinating stuff, but too much of it. The stories for such occasions are not how the food arrives hot at the table, but who has been invited. We caught a glimpse of Cherie Blair beckoning Tony to show him where he would be sitting, the Duke of Edinburgh greeting the president at the front door and the Australian head of state inspecting the table to see everything was in order.

We got snippets of the Queen’s speech of welcome and an even tinier snippet of her guest’s reply. The tantalising after dinner performance of Les Miserables by the entire London cast of the musical could have been given more attention, and we were deprived of the best performance of the night – clips of the Queen looking as if she were smelling something unpleasant as her son and heir kissed her on the cheek.

Nine bought a pup, not made any better by the resurrection of a cadaverous Brian Henderson as front man. Hopefully next week’s serving of life at Buckingham Palace will be more interesting.