A meditation on power and the metaphor of the body of state, based on the real episode of dementia experienced by George III [now suspected a victim of porphyria, a blood disorder]. As he loses his senses, he becomes both more alive and more politically marginalized; neither effect desirable to his lieutenants, who jimmy the rules to avoid a challenge to regal authority, raising the question of who is really in charge. Written by
Dan Hartung <email@example.com>
His Majesty was all powerful and all knowing. But he wasn't quite all there.
Did You Know?
One bit of business that failed to survive the transition from stage to film: Pitt's drinking. While in the film George III briefly mentions Pitt's drinking habits to his wife, on stage, as Alan Bennett
puts it, "Pitt takes a swig from a hip flask, such a regular feature of his behaviour it is not noted in the stage directions." (The historical Pitt was considered a heavy drinker even by eighteenth-century standards, especially as he got older; modern biographers agree that his alcohol intake probably contributed to his early death.) See more
The servant Fortnum states that he is leaving royal service to open a provisioner's shop in Piccadilly ("a step up from emptying piss-pots"), a comical allusion to the Fortnum & Mason's establishment. The film takes place in 1788, 81 years after F&M was founded in 1707. In fact, the company's co-founder's grandson entered royal service in 1761, which led to an expansion of the company's business. See more
[shown the King's discoloured urine, evidence of his porphyria
Medicine, young man, is a *science*! It consists of *observation*! Whether a man's water is blue is neither here nor there.
Referenced in Just a Minute: Episode #3.2
Zadok the Priest
Music by George Frideric Handel
(as G H Handel) See more