Emilia Fox leads the star cast in five revealing films about the years that shook The Queen and the world forever.
This epic five part drama documentary series explores the private dilemmas of The Queen during critical periods that were turning points both in her life and in the history of the world. The Queen, originally shown on Channel 4 is released on 7th December, courtesy of 4DVD.
The Queen is played by a different actress in every episode, each lasting an hour and illustrating a pivotal moment in the monarch’s life. Emilia Fox, who starred in Silent Witness leads the cast, along with Samantha Bond, best known for her role as Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond films, Susan Jameson from New Tricks, Barbara Flynn (Cranford) and Diana Quick (Brideshead Revisited). The series also features The Tudors’ Katie McGrath who plays a young Princess Margaret.
The series takes us into the heavily guarded walls of Buckingham Palace and looks behind the different periods in The Queen’s life. This includes fascinating documentary elements, featuring testimonies from royal insiders, historians and news archives combined with dramatised sequences.
From the day the abdication of Edward VIII made Queen Elizabeth II heiress to the throne, she has been one of the most powerful women in the world. As she approaches the later years of her reign, hers is one of the most extraordinary and yet mysterious stories of our time. Surviving eight decades that have seen the world change almost beyond recognition, little is really known of the private face behind the public monarch. This powerful series explores her subtle influence on world events, her private relationship with presidents, prime ministers, kings and the torment she has suffered through a family torn apart by indiscretions, affairs, divorces and re-marriages.
The five-part series begins in 1955, with Emilia Fox portraying a young Queen Elizabeth facing her first public and personal crisis as her sister Princess Margaret is forced to decide whether or not to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend, a divorcée and controversial marital choice. This was the first constitutional crisis The Queen faced by herself – but what was the truth behind Princess Margaret’s decision to put duty before love?
The second film features Samantha Bond with focus on 1974 and the kidnap attempt on The Queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, during a time of extreme uncertainty, terrorist attacks and paranoia in the UK. When at threat from rogue extremists with political and religious differences, this film shows how The Queen remained undeterred.
Tension between the Crown and the government is explored in the third episode of the series with Susan Jameson stepping up to become Queen. Margaret Thatcher, the then Prime Minister, had developed a strong relationship with President Reagan as they both entered their second terms. However, when Thatcher set herself in opposition to The Queen and Commonwealth over sanctions against South Africa, the hostility between the pair went into meltdown. This episode explores the feelings The Queen had towards Margaret Thatcher and how she vocalised them within the media.
The fourth episode centres on 1992 and the infamous “Annus Horribilis”, when the marriages of Prince Charles and Princess Diana and Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson came to a well documented end. The Queen, played by Cranford’s Barbara Flynn, also had to watch her beloved Windsor Castle burning down.
The series concludes in 2005 with Diana Quick starring at a time when Prince Charles’ marriage to Camilla Parker-Bowles invoked royal conflicts between love and duty that stretched back to the abdication of Edward VIII. The Queen is faced with the issue of accepting the marriage, as well as the problem of a divorcée marrying a Royal.
Release date: Monday 7th December 2009
Cat No: C4DVD10311
Running time: 238 mins approx.
Cert: 15 (TBC)
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