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The Queen and I (BBC Radio Collection) Audio Cassette


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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563406534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563406532
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 10.6 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,225,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Leicester in 1946, Sue left school at 15 years of age. She married at 18, and by 23 was a single parent with three children. She worked in a variety of jobs including factory worker, shop assistant, and as a youth worker on adventure playgrounds. She wrote in secret for twenty years, eventually joining a writers' group at the Phoenix Theatre, Leicester in her thirties.

At the age of 35, she won the Thames Television Playwright Award for her first play, Womberang, and started her writing career. Other plays followed including The Great Celestial Cow (1984), Ten Tiny Fingers, Nine Tiny Toes (1990), and most recently You, me and Wii (2010), but she became most famous for her series of books about Adrian Mole, which she originally began writing in 1975.

The first of these, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾ was published in 1982 and was followed by The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (1984). These two books made her the best-selling novelist of the 1980s. They have been followed by several more in the same series including Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years (1993); Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction (2004); and most recently Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years (2009). The books have been adapted for radio, television and theatre; the first being broadcast on radio in 1982. Townsend also wrote the screenplays for television adaptations of the first and second books and Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years (published 1998, BBC television adaptation 2001).

Several of her books have been adapted for the stage, including The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾: The Play (1985) and The Queen and I: a Play with Songs (1994), which was performed by the Out of Joint Touring Company at the Vaudeville Theatre and toured Australia. The latter is based on another of her books, in which the Royal Family become deposed and take up residence on a council estate in Leicester. Other books include Rebuilding Coventry (1988), Ghost Children (1997) and Queen Camilla (2006).

She was an honorary MA of Leicester University, and in 2008 she was made a Distinguished Honorary Fellow, the highest award the University can give. She was an Honorary Doctor of Letters at Loughborough University, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Her other awards include the James Joyce Award of the Literary and Historical Society of University College Dublin, and the Frink Award at the Women of the Year Awards. In 2009 she was given the Honorary Freedom of Leicester.

Her most recent novel, The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year, was published in 2012 by Michael Joseph and was a giant success, selling over half a million copies to date in the UK alone.


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The Queen was in bed watching television with Harris. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By tortoise on 4 Jun. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bought this recently and reread it for first time since it was published in the 90s. Was as funny as I remembered, but was very disappointed by the sheer number of errors in the text of the Kindle version. It's not just the odd typo, which I understand when it's a free classic that's been put together by volunteers. This is priced similar to a printed book, but has chunks of text in the wrong place, as well as numerous grammatical and spelling errors. Such a shame, because it's a good book. Just a publisher/Kindle being very lazy and cynical - don't believe this would have been passed for publication if it was in print.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By "christophergb" on 18 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback
This is clever humour at its best. The book details the escapades of the Royal Family when they are moved into council estates following a republican victory in the general election. Sue Townsend's humourous style, as seen in Adrian Mole, is retained and this book achieves the almost unachievable in actually being more funny than Mole. The novel does give an insight into the problems of the British welfare system, but this does not prevent it from being hilarious. Everyone really MUST read this book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "kate-alice" on 31 May 2004
Format: Paperback
The queen and her family are taken from Buckingham palace and placed in a housing estate by the new republican party. I haven't got a bad word to say about this book, yes the characters date the book slightly but due to fictional way they are described you can easily get past this.
The story is wonderfully written and the characters are enjoyable and realistic. The royal families individual reactions to their new situation are realistic and charming, their descriptions play on the publics perceptions of the royal family perfectly.
But the real heroes are the welcoming locals who are proud of where they come from and what they have worked for.
Each chapter is so readable pages pass with out your noticing until the end arrives leaving you wanting more! Wonderful!!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Leese on 1 Feb. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love Sue Townsend and I'm sure this book would have been great - had I been able to read it. Unfortunately the Kindle version contained so many scanning errors as to render it unreadable; entire chunks of text missing, paragraphs in the wrong order, just ludicrous. Returned for a refund; I'll search out the paperback in a charity shop.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. T. Rogers on 26 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback
Sue Townsend is perhaps better-known for the Adrian Mole Diaries series, which explores Middle England teenage angst. In 'The Queen and I', Townsend looks at a different section of society - the plight of the ordinary poor. The People's Republican Party wins the 1992 general election and immediately proceeds to abolish the British Monarchy and implement a range of extravagant left-wing campaign promises. In what appears to be a surfeit of spite, the senior members of the Royal Family are cast into humiliating poverty, forced to live on a council estate and claim benefits. In the process, both they and the ordinary families around them interact with each other and also with various 'middle-class'-type people, including the police, a social worker and bureaucrats at the local benefits office. This novel shows very well the perceptions that different class groups in society have of each other and how this subtly affects day-to-day experiences, though the apparent comedic nature of the novel means that these experiences are presented in an exaggerated way. From 'dishing it out', the Royal Family now have to 'suffer' the life of ordinary people 'on the receiving end'. Looked at from a jaundiced angle, this book is not really about the Royal Family or the British Monarchy at all. They merely serve as a metaphor for the ups and downs of 'the rest of us', especially those of us who suffer a dramatic fall in fortunes. It is self-evident that people look at the world differently depending on their economic position in society, but this story also reflects the contempt felt by the poor for those 'above' them.

The controlling force in society is presented as the middle-class - the professionals who mess with people's lives, and the populist politicians responsible for the 'revolution'.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By katcon on 29 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book some years ago and loved it, second time around it was even better although thought provokiing as Diana is no longer with us
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tanya Humphrey on 25 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
As you'd expect from a book by Sue Townsend, "The Queen and I" is funny. It is a lighthearted read which makes a serious point. The pampered existence of the royal family is thrown into sharp relief when they are suddenly stripped of all their trappings and dumped in the middle of the worst council estate in Britain, Hell Close. The trick works both ways. In lining the two different life styles up side by side, Townsend also highlights the hand to mouth existence of the poor. Job done.

But that's as far as it goes. The novel never really progresses beyond caricature. The various royal hangers on adapt to life in Hell Close pretty much as we might expect, given their public personas. It is the Queen alone who is given a fully rounded personality. Townsend treats her sympathetically and she is allowed to keep her dignity. There is even a suggestion that she (along with most of her family) are as much a victim of circumstance as everyone else and would relish an everyday existence.

I enjoyed the novel. In fact, it would be difficult not to enjoy it. It doesn't take itself seriously; it has fun. Anyone expecting something deeper and more profound may well be disappointed.
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