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Bertie and Elizabeth (2002)

A chronicle of the life of George VI, who was forced to become King following the abdication of his brother Edward VIII, and his relationship with his wife, Elizabeth.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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James Stuart
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Lady Mabell Airlie
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Equerry
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David
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Young Woman
Nicholas Pritchard ...
J.C. Davidson
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Geoffrey Beevers ...
Earl of Strathmore
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Storyline

The duke of York, nicknamed Bertie, was born as royal 'spare heir', younger brother to the prince of Wales, and thus expected to spend a relatively private life with his Scottish wife, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, and their daughters, in the shadow of their reigning father, George V, and next that of his elder brother, who succeeded to the British throne as Edward VIII. However, Edward decides to put his love for a divorced American, Wallis Simpson, above dynastic duty, and ends up abdicating the throne, which falls to Bertie, who reigns as George VI. He expects to be, as constitutional monarch, little more then a figure head, but again fate has other ideas: Nazi Germany proves such a formidable war challenger to the British Empire that the desperate nation looks to the royal couple as a comforting symbol of its unbroken spirit, a part they play with great success, while hosting chased monarchs and governments from continental Europe. After victory, life returns to normal, but pulmonary ... Written by KGF Vissers

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Drama

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4 June 2002 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Bertie e Elizabeth  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tommy Lascelles (Paul Brooke) is depicted as the Private Secretary to Bertie from the start of his reign and certainly from the beginning of the war. In fact though he had been an Assistant Private Secretary since shortly before King George V's death, he was only promoted to the full role (directly dealing with the King and his boxes, for example) as late in the War as 1943. He remained at post for the rest of the King's reign, several years after retirement age, and into Elizabeth II's first year as Queen. It's best to think of the role as combining two real live persons (Sir Alec Hardinge and Sir Alan "Tommy" Lascelles) into one. See more »

Goofs

When Bertie and Elizabeth are leaving Fort Belvedere Wallis and her husband pulled up you can hear Wallis calling David his first name. But when they get out of the car Thelma introduces Wallis to David as the person who would look after him while she was away. See more »

Quotes

[talking at dinner about the forthcoming marriage of Bertie and Elizabeth]
Archbishop Lang: My feeling, Sir, is that the wedding of these two young people - the Duke and Duchess of York - should be filmed, if that is thought appropriate, but not be allowed to be recorded over the wireless. The people might listen to it in *inappropriate* places.
King George VI, aka 'Bertie': What exactly do you mean by that?
Archbishop Lang: Public houses, for example. They might also not remove their hats at solemn moments.
David - Edward VIII: [scornfully] Why this obsession with ritual?
King George V: ...
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Connections

Version of The King's Speech (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

If You Were the Only Girl (In the World)
(uncredited)
Music by Nat Ayer (as Nat D. Ayer)
Lyrics by Clifford Grey
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User Reviews

Dreadful Wasted Opportunity
6 June 2002 | by (London UK) – See all my reviews

In the UK this was ITV1's big attraction for Jubilee night and came on a couple of hours after nearly 2m people had crammed the Mall to sing patriotic songs in front of the Queen.

This is the story of her parents' marriage and reign. I got the impression it may have been on the shelf for a few years, awaiting the death of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in March 2002, who was of course the Elizabeth of the title.

Covering a thirty year period 1922 to 1952 this fairly gallops through history and that is one of its faults. It would have been better as a mini-series over six hours rather than the two hours it was.

There is a fascinating story here, especially the less usual view of the 1936 Abdication Crisis from those like Bertie and Elizabeth who had to pick up the pieces. The late Queen Mother's deep and long lasting consequent hatred of Mrs Simpson is barely hinted at.

Unfortunately we were up against some fairly wooden acting and dreadfully superficial treatment of the known facts. I presume this was made with some American money hence the scenes with FDR (Robert Hardy and a large slice of ham) and the constant grating reference to the 'King of England' and 'English democracy' even by the monarchs portrayed themselves. No British monarch would ever thus describe themselves - they are monarchs of the United Kingdom.

Small incidents such as the Dutch Queen calling early in the morning to ask for fighter squadrons to fend off the German invasion of the Netehrlands and her subsequent arival loom large whilst the King's drawn out death from lung cancer, concealed from him and the people of the UK and Commonwealth for several years is glossed over. And the Queen Mother most famous remark after Buckingham Place was targetted by the Luftwaffe 'I'm glad we've been bombed, it means I can look the East End in the face' just doesn't appear.

Cockneys are portrayed all 'Cor love a duck' and Mrs Simpson as virtually a witch, when really she was probably out of her depth in a society she could not understand.

Alan Bates does give a good turn as George V and the bloke who played Edward VIII gave a good sly performance of a weak and superficial man.

Otherwise a wasted opportunity I'm afraid.


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