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Friday, January 28, 2011

Quiet heroism wins the day...

I’m probably the last person on the planet to see The King’s Speech, but I finally got round to it this week, and - like everyone else - I loved it.

This is a story in which nobody gets shot and nobody has to make any life or death decisions, but the ending was edge-of-the-seat stuff all the same. The live BBC broadcast to the nation on the outbreak of WW2 - would it be a triumph, or would it be a disaster?

The new king, George VI, otherwise known as Bertie, never wanted the throne. A quiet, shy, devoted family man with a terrible stammer, he was happy to stay out of the limelight and would have probably spent his whole life in obscurity, had not his brother decided to abdicate, leaving Bertie to take over the family firm.

Bertie had a terrible stammer, which was a huge handicap for a king emperor whose country was being inexorably dragged into another world war, and needed an inspirational leader. So he had to tackle his stammer, face down his fears and get on with doing those live BBC broadcasts, making speeches to the nation, seeing his people and being seen. He was determined to do it, and did so with the help of an equally determined and motivated speech therapist, who gave the king the confidence he so badly needed.

Let’s have Oscars for both Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, who showed us all how to feel the fear, but to get out there and do it anyway.

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