TV Review: BBC America’s ‘Almost Royal’

BBC America premieres Almost Royal—executive produced by Clive Tulloh—on Saturday June 21, 10 p.m. ET. The series—BBC America's first scripted comedy—follows two young British aristocrats (played by Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggart) as they travel across the United States, interacting with real Americans. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

“At first blush, TV would seem to be a little Borat-ed out by now. Yet Almost Royal quickly establishes itself as a sprightly surprise, following a mock brother-and-sister team of snotty Brits as they travel the wilds of America, reeling in unsuspecting marks along the way. Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggart play Georgie and Poppy Carlton, cheerfully fulfilling their late father’s wish to visit the U.S. and ‘mingle with the natives.’ What ensues is fast-paced and frequently funny, a mix of deft writing and the duo’s deadpan improvisational skills.”
—Brian Lowry, Variety

“It’s a fine concept for a TV show, but dropping Georgie and Poppy into America right off the bat means that Almost Royal misses a crucial opportunity. Seeing the pair in their element—likely at the Royal Ascot nursing Earl Grey with the Duchess Of Kent—would have given their failures in America more weight. More importantly, it would give the Carltons context beyond ‘basic British snobs.’”
—Caroline Framke, A.V. Club

“In addition to being absurdly funny and addictive, Almost Royal smartly satirizes both Americans, for their seemingly endless fascination with British royalty, and the titled British upper class as well, for their pixilated detachment from the real world.”
—David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle

“Though Gamble and Hoggart never break character, it’s difficult for viewers to know if the everyday folks that George and Poppy meet are onto the ruse or if the show is entirely scripted. Either way, there’s a lack of conviction toAlmost Royal’s premise that means the funniest parts are only just mildly funny. Though they play around with snobbishness and cross-cultural entitlement, there are missed opportunities (at least in the first two episodes) for George and Poppy to engage economy-obsessed Americans on a deeper and potentially more hilarious discussion of class.”
—Hank Stuever, Washington Post

Almost Royal is not a series that demands to be watched, but it’s a cute diversion for Anglophiles looking for intermittent laughs.”
—Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette