A US property developer realises that he has a battle on his hands when he tries to renovate a London building containing a vast photographic collection and discovers that the library ... See full summary »
"Friends and Crocodiles" traces the changing relationship of maverick entrepreneur Paul Reynolds and his assistant Lizzie Thomas over a period of 20 years from the beginnings of the Thatcher era to the bursting of the dot.com bubble.
The passionate love story that was Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's lengthy marriage. Beginning in 1837, the year of King William IV's death and 18-year-old Victoria's ascension to the ... See full summary »
An adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's classic story of parvenue Becky Sharp's rise from obscure & humble origins to her subsequent ignominious fall from Society; set amongst the ... See full summary »
Bill Nighy and Miranda Richardson star in a story of grief and celebrity, set in the intense spring and summer of New Labour's election victory and Diana's death. Nighy is a PR guru who has... See full summary »
18th-century England and Ireland viewed through the eyes of four beautiful high-born sisters - Caroline, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah Lennox, great-granddaughters of a king, daughters of a cabinet minister, and wives of politicians and peers.
It is 1958, and the final debutante 'season'. Mary, a brilliant young writer and critic is befriended by Geraldine, a seemingly friendly young debutante of a similar age but a very ... See full summary »
The death of King Henry VIII throws his kingdom into chaos because of succession disputes. His weak son Edward, is on his deathbed. Anxious to keep England true to the Reformation, a ... See full summary »
Helena Bonham Carter,
The life of Edward VII (1841 - 1910), the King of the United Kingdom. Before becoming the king he developed a reputation of a playboy which angered his mother, Queen Victoria. He was a reformer and modernizer, but also an elitist.
British empire monarch George V and his wife Queen Mary decide to hide their last-born son, Johnnie, from the public, being embarrassingly affected by epilepsy. While his protective elder brother is ruthlessly groomed for court life, Johnnie gets packed off to a country cottage on the royal estate Sandringham. With his full-time governess Lalla, a substitute-mother, he's abandoned to playfulness and virtual social neglect. The Great War and the Russian Revolution change life in Britain, also at court, even at Sandringham, where royal refugees are expected. Written by
Prince John, youngest son of George V and Queen Mary, was handicapped by learning difficulties and the epilepsy which eventually killed him at 14. He spent most of his life hidden away on the Sandringham estate, but he was well cared for and not entirely forgotten by his family (he appeared with his brothers and sisters on a Newfoundland stamp issue). Stephen Poliakof has taken this sad story and created a wonderful tale of growing up in a royal family who, far from ruling their roost, were hidebound by convention, slaves to 'appearances' and emotionally crippled. John, however, is virtually free from all of this as his brother George remarks 'he is the happiest of us all' (or words to that effect).
John and George (later the Duke of Kent) are able to observe some notable historic personalities and moments. When their grandfather Edward VII (Michael Gambon) dies, most of Europe's royalty turn up to the funeral. George, on chatting terms with Lord Stamfordham (Bill Nighy), his father's private secretary, follows the diplomatic descent into World War I. And there is the fate of cousin Nicky, Tsar of Russia, and his family, at the hands of the Bolsheviks. We see these events from the child's viewpoint, or rather from the viewpoints of two rather different, though close, children. This gives a sort of dreamy immediacy to the story, unadorned with explanations.
While his mother Queen Mary (Miranda Richardson) is both physically and emotionally distant, John is given plenty of love and affection by his nurse Lalla (Gina McKee). Despite his disabilities he thrives under her care to an extent his parents find overwhelming.
It's hard to tell how much of the story is based on fact and how much on Poliakoff's imagination, but it scarcely matters. He has created a story which actually evokes sympathy for royalty, a major achievement in this republican age. Prince John, the royal refusenik, leading his band of retainers across the landscape, is an evocative sight.
The settings are gorgeous, though none of the real places (Sandringham, Buckingham palace) is used. The acting is all first-rate; Tom Hollander's earnest George V and Miranda Richardson's stern but not totally unfeeling Queen Mary stand out, along with the boys playing the two princes.
18 of 20 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?