Meghan Markle mocked on BBC sketch show in 2019
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Meghan and Prince Harry revealed that they are expecting their second child by sharing a stunning black and white photograph of themselves on Twitter. The snap showed the royal couple sat beneath a tree with Harry’s hand resting on Meghan’s head, while she cradled her baby bump. The Sussexes moved to the US last year – where their child is expected to be born – after they announced their plan to step down as senior royals.
The move, which was dubbed Megxit, split the public – with some in favour of their pursuit for financial self-sufficiency, while others were unhappy with the decision.
Fierce debate about their move continued last year after the couple brokered deals with Netflix and Spotify, reportedly worth £81million and £40million respectively.
Their son, Archie Harrison, nearly two, featured in the first episode of their Archewell Audio podcast in December.
He made his first public address by wishing the public a “Happy New Year” – a move that some argued contradicted the couple’s demand for privacy.
The public perception of Harry and Meghan, a former actress, has been drastically changed in recent years.
On Spitting Image last year, Meghan was shown in a top with the word “Princess” on it and Harry in a rugby shirt.
Show creator Roger Law explained that his puppet show would “take back control from the likes of” world leaders and the Sussexes.
Last year, he told the Daily Mail: “It will be more outrageous, audacious and salacious than the previous incarnation.”
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But in another show, Tonight With Vladimir Putin, which aired on the BBC, the portrayal of Meghan was brutally picked apart online.
The animated series, which used 3D technology, featured a spoof of Russia’s leader Mr Putin as the host of a talk show.
He interviewed a fictional version of Meghan in the clip and many were less than happy with the scenes.
The clip, which showed the Duchess in a black blazer and top, portrayed her as loud and rude.
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On Twitter, one viewer wrote: “I’m actually shocked by how terrible this is in both concept and execution.”
A second added: “It is genuinely the worst two minutes of television I’ve experienced in my life and I’ve seen Love Island.”
A third claimed it was “utterly awful [from] start to finish” and urged: “BBC2 please discontinue immediately.
“[The] portrayal of [the] Duchess of Sussex is a gratuitous, vindictive disgrace.”
The Twitter user called on the BBC to “sack those involved”.
Meghan, who portrayed as “trailer trash” in the episode, had recently given birth to Archie when the trailer aired.
In one scene, Meghan claimed she wanted to “get to know” the “United British of Kingdom people” and to increase her social media following.
The satirical show also showed a fictitious rift with Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, after she asked to borrow her hairbrush.
In the scene, Meghan said: “I say, ‘No, because that is gross!’ and then I leave my room and come back.
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“I can tell she’s used my hairbrush anyway because it’s covered in skanky hair that’s going grey.
“I say, ‘Stay the f*** out of my trailer or I’ll cut you, Kate!’”
Gbemisola Ikumelo, who wrote the show and played Meghan, claimed that her version of the royal was completely opposite to reality.
She described Meghan as “always smiling”, “incredibly agreeable and friendly”, which contrasted with her TV alter ego.
Ms Ikumelo admitted that her intention was to find “humour in the ridiculous”.
In 2019, she told The Telegraph: “What if somebody who seems super lovely in public actually has a really mean streak?”
While trying to work out what “that would look like”, she made Meghan’s character “over-the-top, shouty” and gave her a “hill-billy drawl”.
The show was slammed at a tense time for the BBC, when it announced that only retirees on pension credits would get a free TV licence.
One frustrated viewer vented: “This is utterly disgraceful BBC2!!
“The biggest waste of taxpayer’s money ever – I will not be renewing my TV licence.”
Two pilot episodes for Tonight With Vladimir Putin aired in 2019 and no more were created.
When questions about Meghan’s portrayal were put to the BBC, a spokesperson explained that it was “clearly” a “spoof” show.
They told The Sun: “Viewers will clearly recognise this performance as a spoof and highly satirical within the context of a programme.
“[It] lampoons a wide range of public figures and the public’s perception of them.”
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