Harry and Meghan will make mega-money, but Netflix will expect serious return on their investment

NO big surprise about Harry and Meghan’s mega Netflix deal.

The couple and their ­“people” have been working hard to secure a big-bucks contract that will make them financially independent.

Insiders reckon they will have signed on the dotted line for a minimum of £112million, which will allow them to pay off their debts for refurbished Frogmore Cottage and cover security costs.

It will also give them the much-longed-for “freedom” from royal duties they so dearly crave, as well as an elite Hollywood lifestyle.

But Netflix won’t be writing that big fat cheque without wanting payback from Harry and Meghan.

In television it’s all about eyeballs. Ratings matter and Netflix will hope the star power of one of the most famous couples in the world will bring an upsurge in subscriptions.

In one of their usual well-meaning gobbledegook statements, Harry and Meghan have said they will be making “inspirational family programming with impactful content that unlocks action”.

I’m guessing that translates as not the usual Netflix smash hits such as Tiger King and those numerous re-enactments of real-life serial killers (which I happen to find fascinating).

H&M will be altogether more rarified. But with the best will in the world, kids’ programmes and earnest documentaries about climate change, while important, are already out there.

We have Sir David Attenborough fighting the good fight and no one does it better, so they might have to have a rethink.

Netflix has effectively bought “Brand Sussex” and it will want to see Harry and Meghan on screen, in big fat close-ups, in order to get its money’s worth.

The couple have already taken paid work for making speeches at corporate events but that has dried up in the coronavirus world, so financially they needed this deal.

It is being compared to the kind of Netflix arrangement struck by former US president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.

They have managed to produce some high-quality programmes while remaining dignified.

Harry and Meghan will be looking for the Obamas’ advice to walk this particular tightrope of keeping Netflix happy but not giving too much of their private lives away.

It’s a difficult balance, and already the couple have been embroiled in controversy.

It has emerged that Netflix will screen a controversial musical on Princess Diana, which even the kindest critics have labelled “tacky” and I would imagine is the kind of thing that Harry loathes.

Of course, they have no control over what’s shown on Netflix but it highlights the difficulties of being a sort of half-royal and making commercial deals.

Despite everything, I actually think they could do some really good stuff on air.

We could perhaps see Meghan doing her own chat show, like her friend Oprah Winfrey.

She could easily attract every Hollywood A-lister.

I reckon Harry could front documentaries about the Armed Forces, his beloved Invictus Games and his conservation work in Africa.

Both of them want to help tackle mental health problems, which are spiralling in our strange new world, and if they get the content right, they could help so many people.

Of course being a member of the House of Windsor (no matter how reluctantly) doesn’t guarantee commercial success and Harry and Meghan aren’t the first royals to dabble in the world of TV.

In the Nineties, Harry’s uncle Prince Edward set up production company Ardent TV . . . and it didn’t end well.

His first foray into making TV shows in 1987 was the utterly toe-curling It’s A Royal Knockout, a sort of panto version of the bonkers game show that even the stoic Princess Anne must still have nightmares about.

It was a total car crash and the most embarrassing thing Prince Andrew has ever been involved with — until his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein came to light.

I do wish Harry and Meghan well in this new venture.

They need a sense of purpose now they’ve stepped out of the royal magic circle, and this could be just what’s needed to make them feel happy and fulfilled.

Savvy salons have beauty and brains

THE beauty industry has been badly hit by the pandemic and shockingly ignored by a ­Government which failed to take this multi-billion pound business seriously.

Too many small salons were forced to close for far too long, especially as most of the new hygiene and sanitising rules were already in force before Covid reared its ugly head.

Luckily you cannot keep a quick-thinking, intelligent and innovative industry down.

There have been so many good ideas to ensure that salons not only remain open but can still offer treatments.

Most are now available and there are even “hands off” facials, using a range of ­equipment that ensures the safety of the customer and the trained beautician.

The bottom line is we need to use it or lose it, so support your local salon if you can.

Not only will it give you a confidence boost and be a real stress-buster, but you will be helping hardworking ­businesswomen (and it is usually women in charge of salons) to keep their heads above water.

Gone too soon

REST in peace, Chadwick Boseman – a hugely talented man who died of colon cancer way before his time.

The star of Black Panther was just 43 and chose to live with his illness in secret.

His courage and tenacity was remarkable.

He had a heart as big as a lion’s and spent much of the time he had left visiting terminally ill children in hospital, bringing them such joy with toys and action figures from the film.

A true giant of a man.

Movie is perfect Ten-et

I HAD my first visit to the cinema since the beginning of March for a screening of Tenet, the new sci-fi blockbuster starring Denzel Washington’s son John David, who has all the charisma and talent of his famous dad.

I’m still trying to get my head round this time-bending tale about trying to avert the outbreak of World War Three.

But I reckon the makers have been extremely clever.

It is such a thick broth of a plot – with dizzying special effects – that I’ll have to go to see it all over again.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who will watch it more than once, bringing much-needed cash into the movie business.

I was thinking the new Bond film would have to really go some to compete with Tenet.

But having seen the new trailer for No Time To Die this week, I reckon it could be Daniel Craig’s best outing in the tuxedo, and a perfect swansong.

Then at least 2020 will have given us two of the best blockbusters of recent years.

Ranvir will shine

GOOD luck to all of the celebs taking part in Strictly Come Dancing this year.
I salute their bravery and their willingness to wear pink Lycra, sequins and spangles (and that’s just the fellas).

A special shout out to my pal Ranvir Singh, who covers politics, reads the news and shows us how to get cracking bargains in her various TV shows.

Ranvir has guts, determination and always shines so very brightly at everything she tackles.

She is my one to watch this year, along with telly presenter and former Royal Marine JJ Chalmers.

Moran a woman to me

EVERY woman over 40 should have the new Caitlin Moran book More Than A Woman by her bedside.

This is basically the handbook we each need to navigate our way through life.

Like so many of us, Caitlin believed she would have life figured out when she hit what is laughingly called “middle age”.

Everything would be far simpler and she could serenely waft around in linen trousers doing effortless pelvic-floor exercises.

The truth, of course, is that women over 40 are often dealing with hormonal teenagers and elderly relatives, as well as trying to hold down a job and not run out of toilet roll.

They are also prone to being self-critical, apologetic and very lacking in self-belief.

So Caitlin wrote this book for all of us who fall into that category . . . and also to prepare every young woman for what’s still to come.

She is a real woman’s woman and her book is wise, funny, honest, genuinely informative and at times even heartbreaking.

She writes so movingly about her daughter’s eating disorder – and it is the most sensible, helpful advice I’ve ever come across on how to cope with such a distressing illness.

The book is also crotch-wettingly hilarious, with descriptions of family life, relationships and sex that had me laughing out loud.

Don’t take my word for it. Get it online or, better still, go to your local bookshop and grab a copy.

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