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22 user 3 critic

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.

Director:

Giles Foster

Writer:

Nigel Williams
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Wilby ... Bertie
Alan Bates ... King George V
Eileen Atkins ... Queen Mary
Dolly Wells ... Princess Mary
William Mickleburgh ... James Stuart
Juliet Aubrey ... Elizabeth
Barbara Leigh-Hunt ... Lady Mabell Airlie
Rupert Wickham Rupert Wickham ... Equerry
Charles Edwards ... David
Alexandra Staden ... Young Woman
Nicholas Pritchard Nicholas Pritchard ... J.C. Davidson
Oliver Ford Davies ... Archbishop Lang
Geoffrey Beevers Geoffrey Beevers ... Earl of Strathmore
Deborah Cornelius ... Thelma Furness
Michael Elwyn ... Lionel Logue
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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 later 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 King George VI. He expects to be, as constitutional monarch, little more then a figure head, but again, fate has other ideas: Nazi Germany proves to be 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... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

PBS [United States]

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 June 2002 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Bertie e Elizabeth See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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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-life people (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

Lionel Logue: For a king he is a remarkably likable person.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Story of the Costume Drama: The Stars (2008) 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
See more »

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User Reviews

Wasted opportunity
30 March 2003 | by Philby-3See all my reviews

You're right folks, this really was below par. I now know why it went straight to cable. Yet it wasn't for lack of acting talent. James Wilby was excellent as the shy and fearful Bertie, thrust onto the throne by his brother David's abdication, and Juliet Aubrey was fine as Elizabeth. Alan Bates harrumphs splendidly as George V and Eileen Atkins, although too old for the role, carries off Queen Mary in a sympathetic manner. Charles Edwards as Edward VIII (`David') has plenty of presence and Paul Brook is superb as private secretary Tommy Lascelles. So what went wrong?

The scriptwriters clearly set out not to offend anybody living, and while Elizabeth the Queen mother died in 2001 her daughter is very much alive and occupying a position of some importance. They were so careful in fact that Prince Philip, always good for some boorish misunderstanding, does not even appear. Neither does his conniving uncle Dickie Mountbatten, though he is mentioned in the dialogue. The enmity between Elizabeth and Wallis Simpson is merely hinted at. But the real problem is the failure to identify the strong elements in the story, the courtship/ wedding, the abdication and the war and write around them, instead of putting the whole thing together as a sort of photo album. Maybe as another commenter says, the mini-series format would have been better, though it might have just created a longer mess.

If you really want to know about the history of the early Windsors, you are going to have to read some books. Edward VIII wrote his account in `A King's Story' published in the early 1950s. He blames Baldwin for forcing him out but makes it clear that he had little difficulty in choosing between love and duty. Poor old Bertie had no such choice and was saddled with the extra burden of being King during wartime. His father describes himself and Edward as `ordinary men' and Bertie, like most of the hereditary aristocrats of Britain was deeply ordinary (and interested mainly in country pursuits). The most remarkable thing about Bertie was the way he overcame his stutter (especially over `B' words). It would have been interesting to know how this was done, but though the stutter gets some attention we are hustled out of the (Australian) therapist's rooms just as the treatment starts.

So, more or less a waste of space. There's been plenty of attention given to `David' before, but this show fails to give a new perspective to the historical events it so lightly covers. A great pity the Queen Mum never wrote her memoirs – now that would have been interesting.


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