Tag Archives: Derek Jacobi

King Colin

The King’s Speech is the kind of film you want to watch again as soon as the credits roll. It’s not often that happens to me.

What I want to know is if King George VI was as interesting in real life as he seemed in the film, or if it was Colin Firth? I’ve gone from having no particular interest in the good King to thinking he really was quite fun, and can’t help but compare him to his descendants.

In fact, I’ve been surrounded by royals for a week or two. Just finished reading about Richard III and all the people surrounding him, including iffy bishops. I thought the George VI bishop was pretty iffy too. And the abdication was covered as recently as last week in Upstairs Downstairs, so I’ve had two Wallis Simpsons to contend with. The film one was better.

It’s one thing to know the King stammered and suffered in public. It’s another to witness how it actually was to be him. Trying every cure or doctor you can think of is familiar to many of us, whatever the problem. The Duchess of York seems to have been determined to help him, although I wonder if much of what was in the film was true.

Fun, though, and it makes you like both of them. The Duchess sitting on the Duke (to help with the breathing?) was amusing. Watching both of them doing things they’d never done before, like using a lift, is illuminating. Having to borrow a shilling to bet.

Geoffrey Rush in The King's Speech

Seeing Lionel Logue and how he worked was wonderful. It may have come as a shock that he was no doctor, but it goes to prove that neither titles nor official qualifications mean that someone is any good at what they do.

The swearing was priceless, and so was the singing. I’ll never hear that tune again without thinking of George VI.

Seeing the reactions of the Duke and Duchess to Lionel’s ‘common’ ways of treating them as people was lovely. Royals need some resistance, I believe.

Finding out what might well have caused the stammering was heart rending and the cruelty to children shocking. It looked as if our current Queen had a slightly better start in life.

The plot is so simple that you can barely write about it: King stammers. King eventually receives decent treatment. King can speak in public. But there’s so much more to this film.

Helena Bonham Carter and Colin Firth in The King's Speech

I will have to see it again, soon. Annoyed it’s not even out yet, but grateful we were able to catch a preview at the weekend. It’s definitely a ‘buy the DVD immediately’ kind of film. The more immediate the better.

NT getting closer

Now I may no longer have to consider whether I can face the journey to London to go to the National Theatre. They are setting up some magic so that people can go to Cornerhouse in Manchester and see some of the National’s plays live.

They are starting big, with Hamlet on the 9th of December, with Rory Kinnear as the prince. Then it will be Fela! on 13th January and King Lear on 3rd February. Frankenstein in March and The Cherry Orchard in June complete the season.

I have never seen anything like this, so have no clear idea of whether it works well or not. But with the modern magic available, it makes sense to bring culture to the ‘sticks’. And they may as well practise on Manchester before they do…