BBC BLOGS - Gomp/arts
« Previous | Main | Next »

What is the Royal appeal?

Post categories:

Will Gompertz | 17:57 UK time, Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Do the Oscar nominations for the King's Speech point towards a truth about how the Americans see themselves in relation to the British? Take Shakespeare in Love for instance - the story of a lowly playwright capturing the heart of a noble woman, or Mrs Brown - where Queen Victoria develops a very close relationship with her servant, or The Queen - where Her Majesty is counselled by Tony Blair.

All were Oscar nominees (with some going on to be winners), all are stories where the commoner gains parity with a Royal or aristocratic personage. Here's Dame Judi Dench and Nick James, the editor of Sight & Sound, on the subject.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.


  • Comment number 1.

    Play to your national stereotype - is a safe rule for winning gongs on an international stage. If you want to portray a Martian then please be green!

  • Comment number 2.

    Americans are looking forward to the impending royal wedding as much as some, but by no means all, of the British. Their current insecurity and their lack of confidence with their own society, cause them to look abroad for reassurance.

    They are indoctrinated from an early age with the idea that anything with a whiff of socialism about it is inherently evil, so that our Royal Family comforts them with its exclusivity, wealth and glamour, three qualities which American culture, sadly, holds in high esteem.

    Their fascination is fascinating.

  • Comment number 3.

    Here in New York, all my American friends tell me that the most enjoyable feature of the movie story is that it turns their usual history on its head - they are accustomed to think well of Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson, and far less well of the establishment that bounced them out. And this movie presented the "facts" in a "whole new light". Me, I thought the screenplay was rubbish, and the performances wooden.....


  • Comment number 4.

    Actually, we're pretty fond of your acting and your accents. I think you're reading much more into things than necessary.

  • Comment number 5.

    The King's Speech is interesting because (understandably) the issue of King George's speech impediment isn't a commonly known thing in the US, and thus an interesting subject. Further more the concept of overcoming one's circumstances and problems is a theme which resonates well with a US audience. Especially as it is one a core principle of our culture. The Royal family appeal seems like more of a draw for British audiences.

    Meanwhile, condescending speculation about our "fascination" is fascinating.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.