The BAFTA and Oscar-nominated film The King’s Speech has brought to the fore the inspiring story of King George VI’s struggle to overcome his crippling stammer.
Featuring interviews with former patients of therapist Lionel Logue, the film provides insight into the working relationship between Logue and his royal patient as well as looking at the methods and techniques he employed to ‘cure’ his patients.
There are also interviews with leading historians of the King, Edward VIII, Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Additionally the programme underlines the vital role of Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother, in helping her husband overcome his disability.
The programme contrasts King George VI’s speeches with those of his brother, the former King Edward VIII, a natural performer. Both men in speaking publicly – one renouncing his throne, the other accepting it – had to conquer their own demons and reveal themselves in a way a King had never done before.
Through these speeches the programme explores the relationships between the brothers and in turn their relationship with their father George V: the first King to speak on radio and television to his subjects.
The film also pulls into focus a moment in British history that fused the issue of the King’s stammer and the destiny of the monarchy; an emerging age of mass communications; of economic depression and global instability: a period of British history when the monarchy needed to show leadership and confidence but with a King who had to overcome a key physical limitation: his stammer.
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