The Regime Episode 1’s Cringest Scene Recalls Kate Winslet’s Forgotten One-Hit Music Career
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The Regime Episode 1’s Cringest Scene Recalls Kate Winslet’s Forgotten One-Hit Music Career

Warning: Major spoilers for The Regime episode 1 “Victory Day” below!




  • The Regime’s first episode features Kate Winslet in a cringe-worthy singing scene reminiscent of her brief music career.
  • The episode sets up the rest of the season, with Herbert encouraging Elena to reassert her power and reject interference from other nations.
  • Winslet’s one-hit wonder “What If” was a tie-in single for a movie, reaching number 6 in the UK, but she chose not to pursue a singing career in the aftermath.

The most memorable scene of The Regime’s first episode is pure cringe and should remind viewers of a certain age of Kate Winslet’s brief singing career. The Regime casts Winslet as Chancellor Elena Vernham, the head of a fictional nation. This HBO miniseries is a biting political satire with shades of Succession, though it’s more broadly comedic than the latter. Episode one does a good job setting up the dysfunction within Elena’s cabinet, and her growing bond with troubled soldier Herbert Zubak (Matthias Schoenaerts).

The Regime episode 1’s ending sets up the rest of the season, as Herbert encourages her to reassert her power and reject interference by other nations. The premiere also sees The Regime’s unnamed nation celebrating “Victory Day,” to mark the occasion of Elena winning Chancellorship years prior. This celebration is an excuse to throw a big party in Elena’s honor, and as she tells her father while visiting his grave, she loves a good party.


When The Regime’s Finale Releases & How Many Episodes There Are

The Kate Winslet-starring HBO political satire miniseries The Regime has debuted its first episode, with several more to go before the finale arrives.

Kate Winslet’s The Regime Episode 1 Music Performance Recalls Her One-Song Singing Career

“What If” Kate Winslet has become a singer?

Kate Winslet's Chancellor Elena singing during Victory Day in The Regime episode 1

The Regime’s cringest moment involves Elena performing a cover of Chicago’s “If You Leave Me Now” during a “V Day” party. Winslet is having lots of fun in this scene, with The Chancellor bellowing out the lyrics in between complimenting her guests. Her husband Nicholas (Guillaume Gallienne) accompanies her on piano, but despite Elena singing with profound confidence, her off-key rendition is tough to sit through. Worst of all, the audience has little option but to give The Chancellor a standing ovation.

This delightful
performance recalls Winslet’s one-hit wonder “What If,” which was a tie-in single for 2001’s
Christmas Carol: The Movie
. This animated take on the classic Charles Dickens tales saw Winslet voicing Belle. While the film itself received poor reviews and went straight to video in the U.S., Winslet’s ballad “What If” was considered strong enough to be released as a single.

The song did surprisingly well too, reaching number 6 in the UK, with Winslet even starring in an accompanying “What If” music video. It was also a hit in countries like Ireland and Austria.

Why Kate Winslet Didn’t Pursue A Singing Career After The Success Of “What If”

Winslet didn’t follow up on “What If’s” shock success

Kate Winslet singing in the music video for _What If_

“What If” was intended to be a big, gooey ballad, but it still received decent reviews, as did Winslet’s singing. Reflecting on the song in 2017 with the BBC, she explained that while recording her role in Christmas Carol. she was asked if she also would sing a song in character. Despite not rating herself as much of a singer, she recorded the ballad, with producers later asking the reluctant Winslet if they could release “What If” as a single.

I said ‘Ok, on one condition. That no one makes any money from it and all proceeds go to children’s charities.’ Which is the case, it did happen. But they didn’t really include the bit about the charity bit when it was out, so suddenly it was like ‘Kate Winslet is launching a singing career and she’s at number six!’

Christmas Carol: The Movie
also featured the voices of Nicolas Cage, Michael Gambon and Simon Callow as Scrooge.

Proceeds from Winslet’s “What If” went to the Charities National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and Sargent Cancer Care for Children, as per her request. During the same chat, the interviewer plays a clip from “What If’s” video, which irritates Winslet so much she demands he “Turn it off!” The actor makes it clear “What If” was a bizarre one-off in her career, and she had no plans to become a singer in the aftermath. Winslet might hate singing, but it’s clear her Regime character doesn’t feel that same, since the show’s trailer teases further performances.

New episodes of

The Regime

release Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and Max.

Source: YouTube, BBC

The Regime temp series poster

The Regime

The Regime is an HBO/Max mini-series that takes place over the course of one year and follows a failing dictator as her fictional empire begins to crumble around her. The show will see the beginning of the end of the dictatorship and the challenges that the Chancellor faces to keep her unsustainable rule afloat.

Release Date
March 3, 2024


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