on 30 January 2010
For anyone with an interest in the British Royal family, or social history of the last 60 years, this is an excellent DVD. It looks at 5 pivotal points in the life of Queen Elizabeth II and the monarchy, with each part played by a different actress, The drama is interspersed with some talking heads and some actual news footage, giving it a genuine sense of history. It begins with the scandal of Princess Margaret's abortive attempt to marry the divorced Peter Townsend, which was considered highly controversial at the time, and finishes with the marriage of Charles to Camilla - showing just how far the royal family and social mores have changed in half a century. A well-presented and well acted docu-drama,
on 19 January 2010
The format took some getting used to, but once you've got it, this is an excellent overview of some aspects of Her Majesties life. It does not overstate the role of the late Princess of Wales (which makes a nice change) and is both entertaining and educational. Great British acting by the leading "queens" aswell.
on 15 March 2011
With the sole exceptions of Emilia Fox (the first actress in a series of five), and Barbara Flynn to a lesser extent (the fourth actress), the portrayals of the Queen lack totally her humanity, humour and joie-de-vivre. Just as Helen Mirren's much-lauded impersonation of the Queen, (difficult to understand) there was a hardness and, I would have to say, a lack of the intelligence and sparkle that are so evident in the Queen herself.
The series serves as a useful documentary of the personal crises of Her Majesty's reign, and as such they are interesting, well-constructed and echo true, their only fault being in the rather two-dimensional portrayals of the Queen. Emilia Fox really was the only one who did nmot fall into the trap. Barbara Flynn brings a warmth to anything she does, and this was no exception.
Very enjoyable as documentaries.
The other reviewers fail to mention the newsreel and television news footage which is included.
Watching actors/actresses portraying the Royal Family is ok but including the genuine news footage included was a great idea.
Princess Ann's wedding - A duplicate of her wedding dress was on show in Lewis's Limited early the following day. I managed to get to see it before the store opened.
The three day week - but they did not show the piles of rubbish bags left in city centres on varying sizes of amounts of grass/empty space on public view.
We all suffered the power cuts but later it was revealed that the Tory government had arranged to store fuel ready for such an occasion, did they allow the stored fuel to be used ? I seem to remember hearing they imported South African coal too towards this storage of fuel and that is mentioned in the portrayal.
Also it shows the wreck of the army bus that was bombed in 1974 in a garage for investigation. I was in hospital at the time but my soldier brother was supposed to be on that particular bus. My father rang the hospital to make sure I was informed that my brother had changed to an empty seat on a later army bus leaving 30 minutes later from Chorlton Street Bus Station in Manchester so he could travel with another soldier he had not seen for a couple of years due to different postings.
The later bus was not allowed to stop at the scene as the orders were in the event of incident it had to carry on with its journey. The driver did stop though to allow my brother to ring my parents before the news of the incident was broadcast to the public. He was the only one who should have been on the coach but wasn't. Sadly my brother died in 2011.
If the driver of the second coach ever reads this "Thank you, sir" you must have saved my parents (and me) much heart ache and worry.
My parents waited for a phone call to say my brother's coach had been blown up but it never came so the army had speedily sorted out who should have been on the coach but wasn't.
I well remember watching the news of Princess Ann's narrow escape from kidnap in March. I was just home from hospital. Watching the portrayal of this incident I wondered how other members of the Royal Family would have reacted with the gun pointing at them. Would they have loudly refused as this brave young woman did.
What a marvellous Queen she would have made if the law had been changed when our Queen took the throne to allow a female heir had she been first born.
So this film is a documentary, a history lesson as well as an entertainment.
I thought it was wonderful, not just another fictional film.
on 14 August 2013
I am not a great fan of monarchy, but I have to admit that I admire Elizabeth II, and also feel a little sorry for her. I don't view being an heir to the throne of any country, or its monarch (especially if one is a constitutional monarch and a figurehead), as anything romantic or desirable - rather, I think it is a chore and a duty which you have to do and which don't have much say in. So to that extent, I think it is quite admirable for anyone to spend their whole lives in a job they didn't choose, where everything they say or do is judged by millions of people, and where they have no real freedom to let their hair down or have a glass of wine too many or openly discuss their points of view.
So, from that point of view, I found this DVD very interesting, to see the queen grow from a very young woman still holding on to the dregs of deeply ingrained Victorian morality to an old woman who has seen it all (dysfunctional family, war, political turmoil, death, love, hate) and reached a new acceptance of life and things.
The first, fourth and fifth episodes were, I thought, the most engaging, perhaps because so much has already been written and discussed about those times and the circumstances surrounding them, but the other two episodes were interesting as well. What I also liked was that the makers used a lot of photographs and news clips and items from the times, as well as interviews with people involved in the events, interspersed with dramatisations of the events in question.
The actresses who played the queen at various stages in her life did a good job (though I found Susan Jameson a little unconvincing in that role). Diana Quick looked the most like the queen even though she is several years younger than the queen was at the age she was during her particular episode. I must also mention Lesley Manville's turn as Margaret Thatcher. I thought she was brilliant. I have seen her in several startlingly different roles now, and I think she is one of the most underrated actresses around.
All in all, an interesting take on the life and times of Elizabeth II.
on 10 August 2013
I liken it, because the mixing of real footage and reenactment really makes it believable.
The only Minus is, that is is so dramaticised. Everything is "the biggest crisis of her reign" and all the time the queen has to "fight for the persistance of her monarchy".