When you heard that Prince Harry and Oprah were teaming up for a telly show again, you likely rolled your eyes, predicting another round of Twitter storms and rants on Good Morning Britain, as families and friends across the country argue over whether we should feel sorry for The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Haz or not. But now it’s out, we’re pleased to report that our social feeds are remarkably calm, and our Sunday dinners this week should pass without anyone lobbing a roast potato at Aunt Caroline.
Despite packing his bags and moving to California for more privacy, this docu-series sees Harry opening-up on mental health. If you’re excited at the prospect of another slagging off session about regal rellies, you’re going to be disappointed. Whilst there’s the odd dash of passive aggression to the Monarchy, Harry and Oprah have created a series that discusses the complexities of mental health, and the importance of open conversation in destigmatising mental illness. That’s a cause you can’t really argue with.
Harry talks about his own battles with his mental health, and his struggles in processing pain and grief. He talks of that heart-breaking day when he walked, aged 12, behind his mother’s coffin, and how ‘The Firm’ decided that the best way to handle it was to not talk about it at all. Even the biggest sceptics will be forced into a feeling of sympathy when hearing him talk about that time. But it isn’t just five hours of Harry – him and Oprah gather together some of their famous friends – Lady Gaga, Glenn Close, the late Robin Williams’ son – who discuss openly their own struggles with mental health.
Whilst we’ve made it sound like a big, sad discussion on human suffering, we should probably mention that the series offers advice and solutions to these problems, whilst continually referring to the idea that a problem shared is a problem halved. Hear, hear Harry.
The Telegraph’s Anita Singh gives this four stars, and says “I defy even the most ardent Harry and Meghan haters to watch without sympathy the old footage of him as a grief-stricken 12-year-old,” adding “we should finally allow Harry the privacy he craves, if only he would keep up his side of the bargain.” Whilst The Times’s Carol Midgley agrees, “it will considerably strengthen his case for wanting privacy if this is the last TV confessional he does for quite a while,” she thinks “this series has a serious public interest — helping people with mental illness — and it is indisputable that Harry will help to destigmatise it by speaking honestly and, yes, eloquently about his own.” The Independent’s Adam White isn’t so sure though, saying though it is “undeniably well-intentioned, but it doesn’t push the conversation about mental health any further than it feels the need to… The economic causes of mental illness, and the chronic underfunding and scarcity of mental health support, are never mentioned.”
First shown May 2021. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image or by clicking here.