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Monday, 20 January, 2003, 16:46 GMT
The Lost Prince: Your views
Stephen Poliakoff's drama tells the little-known story of Prince John, youngest child of George V and Queen Mary, who was hidden away from public life due to his epilepsy and learning difficulties.
Prince John's short life spanned one of the most momentous periods in history - the political build-up to World War I and the machinations of European royalty in the early part of the 20th Century.
The cast includes Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon and Gina McKee.
So what did you think?
Too slow-paced. With a minimal dramatic plot, there is little to take up the slack and there follows one laboured scene after another. The film never really decides or explains the issues. Plus the over-glossy costume drama production values detract from any real attempt at reality.
Fantastic, an absolute delight. The direction and acting were superb, mind you anything by Stephen Poliakoff just has to be watched. First class, a very moving and well executed first episode.
Very disappointing. A superb cast wasted on a poor script. Marginally more exciting than watching paint dry!
Superb television! This was the BBC at its very best.
It's programmes like this, that restore your faith in paying a licence fee!!!
Well acted and produced but thought that Queen Mary and George V had three sons. Where was the father of our present Queen or did I get confused?
The usual Poliakoff pap.
I think I was the only one in my household who enjoyed the Lost Prince. Complete praise to the two boys who played Prince John, their acting was excellent. Can't wait for the next part.
Nice costumes, impressive photography, great acting but ultimately very, very dull.
I thought the Lost Prince was superb. I was completely enthralled.
Where was the young Edward VIII and I thought George VI was known as Bertie not Georgie!!!
Colin Driver, UK
Absolutely brilliant. I only decided to watch it at the last minute and I'm very pleased that I did. The first thing I knew of the Lost Prince was when the Daily Mail produced an article on him last year to commemorate the beginning of the BBC's making of the drama. Although it was a bit confusing at first to understand quite who everybody was it soon became clear! It is a pity, however, that in the scene where Prince John is being taught family history that an advantage was not taken of this opportunity in explaining quite how everybody fitted in. Likewise, where in the drama were the other brothers and sisters? But, nevertheless - EXCELLENT! I hope you are going to also bring out a book to accompany the series.
I thought the story was very very sad, people complain about the royal family now, I don't think there was much love for any of the children, let alone a child with difficulties. Brilliant programme, can't wait till next Sunday
I sat with my jaw dropping ever-lower as the story unfolded. Prince John's treatment by everyone bar his brother and nurse (superbly played by Gina McKee) was absolutely heartbreaking. The story was well-told and the production generally excellent. It was only let down by an overbearing musical score that seemed quite overcome by events rather than drawing attention to them.
Absolutely brilliant !!
Can't wait for part two.
But have to say the King and Queen treated Prince John terribly, still I don't suppose anything has changed in the Royal Family has it? The only critisism I would have is that I thought the King and Queen had six children so where were they?
Normally I hate this sort of thing but was forced to watch it last night by my wife.
I was surprised to find myself spellbound. Superb all round. A very unique view point of history.
Superb. And sadly BBC Choice didn't show the second part straight after as it does for programmes like Taken, so I'll have to wait a whole week before finding out what happens. An absolute winner, with high production values and a great cast etc etc.
I thought it was excellent! It was fascinating to be reminded how Queen Victoria's descendents had managed to occupy so many thrones across Europe by that time. Beautifully filmed, showing the madly eccentric follies of the Royals of earlier (?) eras. The Tsarina's behaviour alone showing clearly why the Bolsheviks were able to dispense with the Romanov's so comfortably!!
Stephen Poliakoff writes well and the translation to the TV screen is delicious eye-candy. However, the dialogue is unreal, patronisingly didactic at times and more suited to a Schools or Children's programme schedule. The programme, of which we have only seen the first "episode" is, at £5.5 million a serious waste of licence-payers' money. But it is romantic fun - provided no-one believes that George V and Queen Mary and Edward VIII and others really behaved as portrayed!
As for the programme it started in 1908 when he was 3 - pity the child actor looked 5+, similarly in 1914 he appears to be a very big 9 year old!
Having strong feelings about the title and the trailers I did watch the first episode, but found it very disjointed. The costumes were very good, however. Whether I watch the second part I am as yet undecided.
George V was known to his grandchildren as Grandpapa England and was a well-built man. This programme portrayed him as a small, weak and rather deferential man, nothing like the descriptions in books and photographs. Michael Gambon, as Edward VII, looked far more like George V.
Yawn! How dull was this programme? Looked fabulous, great score and the acting from the adults was terrific but the script? Was there one? Would also have helped if Stephen Poliakoff had cast children who could actually act - dreadful performances. Won't be tuning in for part 2!
Well put together drama with excellent cast. It shows us how we treated people with disablities, in those days before we had a National health service, and more information on them, can't wait for next week's episode. Keep up the good work.
Stephen Poliakoff's fascination with photography is once again interwoven through the story, but here it is rarely used as more than an excuse for tableaux, rather than serving the story directly.
That said, it was good to see something different and intelligent on BBC One, and the fact that it was well promoted is encouraging.
Yet another great period drama from the BBC! I loved Pride and Prejudice when that was out and this kept me just as enthralled. Great casting, costumes and sets. Wonderful!
I totally enjoyed the programme. Period dramas are not normally my bag, but The Lost Prince seemed to capture my imagination with a start to an interesting story. I did however think it was a little slow moving, but I guess you have to set the scene first!
Dull. Only purpose served was to highlight how annoying the royal family were and are.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought that Miranda Richardson was excellent. She was cool and aloof but you could see the struggle just beneath the surface. Very plausible.
A beautifully shot, edited and costumed piece of television. Richly textured and creamily lit, I was impressed with the quality and obvious expense of the affair. I wish, however, that there had been a bit more bite to the script. After recent historical re-enactments showing us the realities of life in those times, everyone seemed far too content in their respective roles. Oh, and a nursery maid answering back to the Queen? Preposterous!
Colonel Badsounds, UK
I had no idea that there was a "lost" prince in our royal family, so was intrigued enough to watch the drama. It opened up a whole new world to me of an eccentric family living in a rarefied atmosphere - running their home on "Sandringham time", half hour ahead of normal; racing melted butter pats down the king's legs, grown men getting upset about playing with lead soldiers - it's been a revelation, most of it far from happy. I can't wait to find out how poor Johnny's life continued, shut away from the real world.
Really evocative, cast did a very good job especially Miranda and the boy who played John. What BBC is best at.
This is fabulous - BBC at its best. The acting is amazing and direction splendid, thank you to the BBC for putting something worth watching on to our screens again.
A brilliant film with a great ensemble cast and two outstanding performances from the two young actors playing John.
It looked sumptuous and had a great cast, but it just left me feeling hollow. We were watching someone who was locked away from everyday life, so the slightest thing was dramatic to him - but not to us at home, desperately waiting for something to happen. The overkill on the trailers beforehand increased the feeling of anticlimax as well.
I thought it was superb, great actors, fascinating part of history and hurrah to the BBC for producing such a fabulous piece of entertainment!
David Farron, UK
Up to the usual BBC standards in the cast and costumes but where were the locations for this excellent drama?
A powerful and moving production. The set pieces were magnificant and the story touching. Clearly not the Royal Family's finest hour. Well done BBC.
It was vaguely interesting, but oh so very, very slow. Not something I'd watch again.
What an absolute delight for a Sunday evening. A brilliant hour and a half, I cannot wait until next week. Congratulations to everyone.
Brilliant! Very interesting part of our history which has hitherto been hidden. Acted so cleverly and sympathetically too. What a sad indictment of the times.
All members of the cast played their part very well. The producers of the drama must have thought long and hard to piece together a very enjoyable short drama. Can't wait untill the second part.
I thought it was a brilliant programme, but did it really need to be advertised so much that it brainwashed you into watching it?
Fascinating story and well executed by both Poliakoff and cast, although sometimes difficult to separate fact from artistic fiction. Either way, what an incredibly sad and isolated life poor Prince John appears to have had. On a sartorial note, very interested to see that dress for both formal royal occasions and shooting is exactly the same as it is in 2003! Looking forward to part 2.
The acting, costumes, locations & script were, as you would expect, wonderful. But it was a great pity that the sound quality was so poor in places. My husband is an avid historian & was very interested to learn the story of The Lost Prince, but found it very distracting to have to keep turn the sound up & down throughout the broadcast. Generally though, well done BBC!
At last, something worthy of the licence fee. Perhaps the BBC is able to drag itself out of the morass of low-brow popular culture after all.
What had the potential to be yet another boring period costume piece, turned out to be a riveting and enjoyable 1 1/2 hours. We look forward to tuning in next Sunday for the second part. Well done!
The BBC at its best.
It was a waste license fee payers' money! Yet another poor excuse for yet another costume dramatisation of something not all that dramatic.
Andrew, London, UK
I thought that the programme was excellent. As a confirmed royalist, I found it fascinating to see how the royal families of Europe were perceived at the time, and how much we have changed in some ways and not others since that time. I cannot wait for the second installment of this drama. Well done BBC!
This story is worth bringing to any screen. There is a slightly disjointed and confusing feel to the character development of the cast around the prince but where this would be a weakness in most productions, it is a great asset here resulting in the viewer being pulled right into the mind of the boy himself and the perspective that we are given on those around him leaves us breathless.
As always, Stephen Poliakoff has produced a sumptuous masterpiece that stands head and shoulders above today's standard TV output in terms of intelligence, depth, and literate symbolism. The piece is rife with clever intertextuality: Johnny is reminiscent both of Shakespearean fools at court (was the sight of a dog on a red carpet an echo of Lear's "a dog's obeyed in office"?), able in their simplicity to see through the pomp and ceremony, and of Dostoyevsky's prince in "The Idiot" (an epileptic and "holy fool" who befriends three Russian princesses).
The production values are high, the photography gorgeous, and the humanity - as always in Poliakoff - profound. A true television classic.
I found the production charming but it was a little difficult to identify a number of the characters - particularly the family members. I am looking forward to enjoying the equel next Sunday.
I normally enjoy historic dramas, but I did find this a bit tedious.
Pure class, the acting, the direction, everything was perfect. I hope our current royal family have been able to evolve from the cold and remote examples set by their ancestors.
Was so nice to just sit and watch something which didn't involve cops and robbers, hospitals or people having affairs with dire consequences. This is what the BBC do best and should do a lot more of. I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought everyone played their part superbly, especially Miranda Richardson. Am very interested to know how historically accurate it is but for pure blissful entertainment, all I can say is "about time too!".
It afforded us an insight into the Royal family from a child's viewpoint which made the unfolding of events so much more dramatic. A first-class presentation all round!! Well done BBC.
I really enjoyed this programme which I felt brought out the link between historical events and the intimate life of the family very well by examining it through the eyes of the princes, particularly George, whose interest in affairs of state draws the audience with him into a wider awareness of the historical context. I look forward eagerly to Part 2.
Extremely mawkish, an hour and a half of flimsy conjecture.
An excellent, time-spanning production. The young actor who played John in his early years, gave an Oscar-winning performance. Full marks to all involved. I eagerly await next Sunday's programme.
A pleasure to see such a well directed and well acted play. An insight into the Royal family.
BBC television at its best. You can keep all your reality shows, let's have more quality television like this.
Andrew Keogh, England
When at the funeral of the old king the young prince ran around the palace to find somewhere private to hide because he knew he was going to have a fit was brilliant, I am still crying!!
What a breath of fresh air!! Real British history which is very often overlooked..any more Royal skeletons in the closet??
A great looking costume drama with wonderful settings but endlessly confusing with insufficient early identification of characters and locations.
Whether or not the story was true or factually correct it was certainly good TV viewing - the sort of programme that the BBC does at its best. First class acting - especially from the little boy who played the young prince Johnny and an interesting story. I found it well worth the watch and will be certain to watch the final episode next week.
Great! We had a cable failure right in the middle. Will this be repeated please? I looked forward to this all week. Hope I can catch up next Sunday.
I found the the first episode fantastic. Looking forward to next week's episode.
What on earth was the point? OK, so the royal family wasn't protrayed as dysfunctionally as trailers suggested, but apart from the set piece costume drama, what did it say about Edwardian/European history other than that the accepted method of handling epilepsy by a certain class of family was to isolate them from society? In two words - eye-candy.
He was born, he lived, he died. End of story.
I'm not convinced the the money was well spent documenting the life of a minor royal. The wisdom of documenting any member of the royal family is questionable.
I was glad to see this story brought out. Many families are touched by mental illnesses of some sort and all struggle to face the challenge. This portrayal showed the Royal Family dealt with it as well as anyone, and at least Prince John wasn't placed in an asylum. Has anyone visited one? Even today it's not a nice place.
P Morrison, US/UK
A small query - surely it was inaccurate to portray the Russian royal family as speaking Russian amongst themselves? I had understood they (and the rest of the Russian aristocracy) spoke French as the language of cultured people of that country at that time. Or had reform already gone so far as to bring the language formerly regarded as that of the peasants into the royal house? Just curious about how that detail was verified . . .
I really feel sorry for the prince.
Disappointing, spent half the time trying to work out who was who and where the rest of the children had gone. Seemed to charge from 1910 to 1914 and then took best part of an hour to do a couple of months. How did the junior royal end up being twice the size of his older brother? Just leaves me confused as to how the second part will evolve.
Absolute rubbish, what are they spending out money on?!
This depiction of higher-functioning autism was very, very good. The characteristic speech and poor social interaction of boys with this condition were very convincing, paricularly in the scene with the doctors interview. Well done, BBC
Very interesting. If you were expecting drama, thrills and spills, I'd stick with Corrie. But this was quite interesting. However I suspect that one would have actually seen very little of the children, since in Edwardian England, children were seen (rarely) and never heard.
It also concerns me that they look dysfunctional out of context.
Families were more distant, less emotional a 100 years ago. Many mothers faced the prospect of half their children not making it to their teens, as indeed Prince John's oldest brother didn't!
Is it any wonder mothers did not get too attached?
There is so much to explore with this story, instead it was down-beat and extremely boring! Should the story not have followed the actual facts, too??
I thought it was superb and what's more so did my sons, 12 and 14. To hold their attention for 90 minutes solid with no jokes or explosions is some feat.
Excellent. In the best traditions of BBC Drama. Wonderful costumes, set, acting. Plot not too slow as in most period drama.
Very disappointing after all the build-up, I turned off half-way through. Very glossy, but poor script and very slow.
Well made and well acted, but ultimately very boring. What is so interesting about this prince; at the moment, nothing.
This first half was very good and can not wait for the next installment on Sunday 26th. To clarify a few points, George VI and Queen Mary had 6 children. Edward(VIII),George(VI),Mary, Henry(Duke of Gloucester), George(Duke of Kent) and Prince John.
The cinematography and performances couldn't be criticised, but the plot was rather dull. All in all I thought The Lost Prince was nicely delivered, but lacked an engaging storyline.
Not up tp Poliakoff's usual standard. Nothing to hold the attention and the music is not up to much either. Shooting the Past, now that was a winner.
A superb piece of television - beautifully acted and filmed. The two youngsters playing Prince John were two of the best young actors I've seen.
Lost the will to live. After the brouhaha I expected much better than this, though some performances were as good as the script allowed.
Jon Cooper, UK
I thought the production of The Lost Prince was absolutely exceptional. It was beautifully directed and the wardrobe designs for the period were breathtaking. It altogether shows how it could not be seen to have a child slightly different and slower with an illness in the Royal Family at that time. Rather sad really. Queen Mary obviously loved him very dearly but she had to think of what other people thought firstly before her own feelings. When she saw him actually having an attack you could tell she was grief stricken for the little boy.
For the amount of shameless self promotion (and boy was there a lot of it) I was asleep within 10 minutes of the opening credits.
At best I remember it as banal.
Absolutely brilliant! The scenes and costumes were stunning and the dramatic content was handled in a quite engrossing manner. Can't wait for Part 2!
I didn't watch as I decided it was rather a daft way of looking at that particular time of our history. If as some of your correspondents suggest, none of their issues of the day were dealt with, nor the problem of the treatment of epileptics at the time, it seems a bit of a wasted opportunity. And Bob Williams should know that George V and Queen Mary had five sons - oh, and a daughter who obviously doesn't count! Sons - Edward VIII, George VI, the Duke of Kent and the Duke of Gloucester as well as Prince John.
Quality television at last! A joy to behold, superb acting, I look forward very keenly to part 2!!
What a load of overrated tosh, I have never seen anything so hyped on TV be so average. Yes it was very sweet to see a young boy act so innocently in an unnatural setting but I thought the writing slow and tedious in the extreme.
Please use these enormous budgets and talent in creating new and vibrant drama.
Adrian Bullock, England
Enjoyable, but by no means a classic. One aspect that could have improved The Lost Prince drastically, would have been proper introductions for all of the characters. My family and I spent half the programme arguing about who was supposed to be who.
Thankyou for keeping the usual mixture of soap/public voting show/and over-dramatised, reconstructed documentary off my screen for an hour and a half last night - but PLEASE stop putting costume dramas on instead!! What about some topical short plays by some new writers on subjects such as Iraq, asylum, the NHS, the railways, the drugs epidemic etc etc?????
To clear up the confusion among posters. The Georgie in the play is George Windsor 1st Duke of Kent and not Bertie (Albert Windsor) future George VI. It was an interesting historical drama.
King Edward VIII (Duke of Windsor) 23 Jun 1894 - 28 May 1972
King George VI 14 Dec 1895 - 6 Feb 1952
Mary Windsor, Princess Royal (daughter of King George V) 25 Apr 1897 - 28 Mar 1965
Henry Windsor, 1st Duke of Gloucester 31 Mar 1900 - 10 Jun 1974
George Windsor, 1st Duke of Kent 20 Dec 1902 - 25 Aug 1942
John Windsor (son of King George V) 12 Jul 1905 - 18 Jan 1919
Thank goodness something to watch on Sunday night - as a family. So interesting and looking forward to part 2. Please BBC can't you drop programmes like Fame etc and give us good TV.
The future Edward VIII and George VI's "real" names were David and Albert, this was obviously overlooked to make it easier for the viewer to work out who was who.
Absolutely brilliant. Riveting stuff with a superb cast.
Well done to the Beeb, if ITV had tried to make this god knows what it would have turned out like!
Television drama at its best, just fabulous. Richard, UK - Georgie was in fact George, who became the Duke of Kent.
I loved it, and the boy who played little Johnny was superb. I think he has a huge future. He was also the cutest little boy imaginable and really made his character real.
I thought the programme was excellent but I found myself confused as to who was who at times. I found myself reading from a British history book to make sure that Edward VII wasn't George V and that Georgie was not the later be George VI. Edward VII and Mary had two sons called George (Bertie being the eldest and Georgie being the second youngest). The sad thing is that there was no mention of John in the family tree.
Wonderful, very touching, superb acting and it really brought out the grandeur of Edwardian/Georgian Britain. Not many people have heard of Prince John of Saxe-Coberg-Gotha, and it was fantastic that the public were made more aware of him. It's just a shame that not many people knew about him 90 odd years ago. I also found the part where the Russian Tsar and his family made an appearance quite touching. The grand Tsar, his beautiful daughters, and his strange aloof wife, with very little time to live.
Well done BBC.
Anyone expecting a swift moving programme would have been disappointed. Those who have watched Stephen Poliakoff's previous productions will have been delighted that his standards have been maintained. More, BBC, MORE.
After 45 minutes I gave up, deeply frustrated by the writer/director's relentless pursuit of safe choices in writing and filmmaking. Take a good cast, an expensive production and an visual style dictated by the viewpoint of the child, and use them to make a few smug, easy and predictable points about how dreadful these people's behaviour looked when viewed by a liberal 21st century writer's eye. And copying the compositions of impressionist paintings (Degas, Manet, etc) to add the illusion of quality was unforgivable and anachronistic. Fortunately the intelligent and complex documentary on Milosovich on 2, which I switched over to, was a fine refuge from such banality.
I was confused by the identity of Johnnie's elder brother, Georgie: like many viewers (I suspect) I assumed that he was the future George VI and therefore wondered why no reference was made to the future Edward VIII. Again, a brief explanatory caption before the play would have helped.
A few historical mishaps, but it was very good. Thanks.
An interesting story of Edwardian royalty. However, the lack of dates (beyond the 1908 at the beginning) made it frustrating to try to guess the key players and events i.e Asquith visiting George V and the banquet date at the end. Excellent acting though and I will watch the concluding episode.
If we need a full production TV drama to show us that the aristocracy care(d) not one jot... I suspect their position in the UK is as strong as ever.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode. Poliakoff's films are always absorbing but this is especially compelling viewing, thankyou!
The theme of it being through the eyes of Prince John was very limiting. I was disappointed that the only other child we saw anything of was Prince George. Also the pace was rather slow. However I enjoyed it despite this, especially the Banquet scene with the children peeping from the balcony, that was very realistic, and I could really feel the atmosphere. The scene in which he visits his mother at her desk and his father with his stamps also gave me an insight into the relationships between the parents and children.
I was also interested in the short glimpse afforded of the Russian royal family. As an ardent watcher of anything historical or Royal I couldn't not have enjoyed it, and am looking forward to the next part. I just wish that its scope could have been enlarged, but it was a very interesting angle none the less.
I am sick to the back teeth of period costume dramas about upper class Brits. Didn't watch it.
Robert Battersby, United Kingdom
I just couldn't get into it. It was too slow-paced. Plain boring, in fact. I gave up in frustration and switched over.
Brilliant, watched and enjoyed the plot, costumes, the acting, however couldn't understand who was whom, had to get the family tree map out and the history of Britain book, wasn't sure if it's factual or not?
Noticed how as a mum, the queen never touched her son once, and as an ex-nanny, noticed how good the nanny was with the children, thought the large boy of 9 looked too fat! Preferred him younger, more plausable, noticed too, how autistic children, or ones with slight defects (such as myself) have an uncanny way of pointing out the obvious, and seeing things, and speaking them out aloud, whilst others remain silent! That is very true to life, not sure I liked some of the royal families though!
Loved the four princesses costumes, reminded me of princess Diana's bridesmaids'
Spent half the programme pouring over history books to try and work out who was who, after thinking Georgie was George VI until discovered he must have been their 5th child The Duke of Kent - a little more historical information at the opening would have been a great help!! Where were the other four children?
Much better than the average TV drama, but I did feel that something was missing, it was a bit too rushed. A lot of it just felt as though they were firing off historical facts rather than dramatising them. Maybe it would have been better to make a few more episodes and allow the TV audience to fully explore the times and enjoy the settings.
Disjointed and oh, so very slow. Lots of lovely photography padding an inadequate script that doesn't warrant the amount of air time being expended.
Wonderful television. Perfect for the small screen and a lovely way to relax at the end of a weekend. I was spellbound for the whole show. Well done to everyone involved. More of the same please BBC.
Is this because they have been fed on a diet of fast-moving, crime-laden, bad language, low-budget, inane sit-coms for so long by all TV channels that they can no longer concentrate long enough on a plot which builds slowly and does not try to shock?
I thought it was just o.k.
Brilliant riveting television. Although Prince John's treatment by the royal family was terrible, I think that such treatment of disabled people of that time was rife throughout society, not only within the royal family.
The programme was too slow. Most of the script must have read; Jonny, or Little Jonny. Moreover the way the programme was constantly trailed left me with little enthusiasm for it.
Although very pretty in excecution of set and costume; I found the subject matter rather light. I assume Mr. Poliakoff wants us to engage with Prince John, however, this didn't seem to happen. I think because of the rather light period of history prior to the great war; other than the anecdotal scenes containing the activites of the women's suffrage movement. I hope next episode allows us to engage more with Prince John, and we have fewer scenes where the royal princes seem to drift past the King and his ministers so quite by chance. The best part so far has been the genius of the casting.
I'm going to use a cliché I never thought I'd write - this was worth the cost of the licence fee alone. The acting whether adult or the young or even younger John was superb, the script entirely credible and the sets sumptuous. I will probaly weep buckets next week. This is the standard we expect from the BBC.
Stephen, London, UK
For those confused by the missing future kings: Edward VIII was called David by the family (christened Edward David) and George VI was called Bertie by the family (christened Albert George). Georige is not the Queen's father.
Watching the film was compulsive for the sheer number of historical figures in it. It did seem to drag but then that's part of understanding the rigidity and coldness of the society and the household it was set in.
John had four siblings. The fact that only one is scripted leaves me wondering how accurate the rest may be as a historidrama.
Just another period drama.
I was very disappointed. The programme assumed too much knowledge on the part of the viewer regarding the monarchy's family tree (Georgie was too easily mistaken for the future George VI), and only really hinted towards the major historical events. The characterisations of the Royals were limited and frustrating, while it was never made clear exactly who everyone was. I would be the first to criticise a programme for "dumbing down" but it was hard work. For example it was not made clear that we were watching the Russian royal family (and the accents hardly helped in placing them) until much later and the programme completely ignored four of Prince John's siblings, 2 of whom ended up being Monarch.
The pace was slow, the historical snippets just hinted at, and I am afraid I was even disappointed with the portayal of Prince John. Without my, albeit limited, knowledge of British history I would have been thoroughly lost and would have switched off. Sorry BBC, you lost the plot on this one.
I saw the end of the programme - sorry I didn't see the entire thing. Captivating!! I'm intensely interested in British history, especially as it effects the whole English speaking world. Other good ones include Darwin's Daughter. I think a good topic (if not done already) would be on Alan Turing for his work on Enigma & computers in general.
It was absolutely wonderful, telly should be like this all the time, it's only fault was because we are not taught enough about our royal history, the introductions of the characters by the characters made it a bit like a history lesson.
Oh, and Richard, if you read your history books you will know that Prince George was the third son of King George V and Queen Mary and became the Duke of Kent, and that both the Prince of Wales and Prince Albert (David and Bertie) would have been at Dartmouth at the time the film was set.
I wasn't aware there was a lost prince, so an eye opener there. It only reinforces my view that the Royal Family have always been a cold, unfeeling bunch. That little boy just needed a hug here and there - thank goodness he had Lala, Gina McKee was superb. It's good to see some intelligent programmes. We're in danger of dumbing down totally and forgetting our heritage, well done BBC for being brave enough to make it.
Loved it...so evocative...haven't stopped thinking of it all day. Matthew Thomas who played the older Prince John was superb, made me realise at 60 years old how little was taught of recent history at school.
I really wanted to like this show but it just wouldn't let me. It did such a poor job of illustrating the boy's illness. I'm still not clear what was wrong with him. Cutting out some of the historical elements would have really freed up some time to focus more on the relationship between the boy and his family. The girl in the garden/banquet wasted even more time. Then, it just ended wiithout a postscript or anything. Really, really bad attempt at historical drama. Too much of the former, not enough of the latter.
It was very slow to begin with and a bit confusing but once I settled down and accepted the slow pace it was very moving, particularly the obvious love between Georgie and John. The family tree bit helped me a wee bit in that until then I thought Georgie was George VI but that was quite far in. Wonderful stuff!
I have two children with special needs and I help and love them for what they are. So cold poor Prince John. I didn't know that they had him. I love reading about royal family history.
I would love to know where you got your information about Lalla from. My step-great-aunt was Lalla Thomas of Sandringham, and was known in the family as Lalla Bill (my great grandfather was a Williams), but this can't be the same woman as she died in about 1913, some 20 years before her husband who was one of the Sandringham gardeners. Would like to be able to fill in a gap in my family history!
I did enjoy the programme regardless of family content, and look forward to next week's episode.
Lindsay Merritt, UK
To "Susan, England" - you say "if you read your history books". That's the whole point: I think the play should be capable of being understood by people who did not know (or, like me, who had forgotten) that Edward VIII was known as David and that George VI was known as Bertie. To include a character called George and not to find some way of telling us that this was not the future George VI was an unforgivable lapse: just look at the number of people in this discussion who have been confused in the same way that I was.
How realistic would it have been, during the second time Johnnie met the doctors, that he would have changed rapidly during the interview from being hesitant and unable to answer to being very confident and sure of himself? Is this typical of people who suffer from autism?
To pick up on another comment that people have made: I agree that the actor who played the older Johnnie looked far too old to play a nine-year-old, especially as he then appeared older than the actor who played his older brother. It took me a while to realise that the other actor really was still Georgie!
Excellent piece of television. It did however make me compare modern Europe and its European Union with The European Union that was the Royal family at that moment in time with Uncle Bill (Wilhelm) etc.
Can't wait for next week's final part.
After the annoying "they didn't want you to see" trailers I almost didn't watch, I'm glad I did though. It was so nice to see the combination of lavish production design, great cast and a part of history so many of us know little about. As for those wanting dramas on drugs, Iraq, guns etc. The reality is quite depressing enough.
I think it just goes to show how emotionally retarded the royal family are. I know this was in the Edwardian period, but I have to say I doubt very much that they would behave very differntly now. It's amazing how incovenient members of this family disappear, or die in car "accidents". I wonder if the Lost Prince will explain the strange circumstances surrounding the death of Prince John. No doubt you will not print this opinion, but I've had my say.
Great drama and definitely the BBC at its best - but I thought they could have explained a bit more clearly who all the characters were.
Very interesting subject matter that would have been better handled in a documentary.
I thought it was an excellent programme, very well acted, sensitive and interesting. Would like to see more quality programmes like this one on BBC One.
Solid, well written Stephen Poliakoff. Strong cast and well acted. What more could you ask for?
Looked good, but I failed to spot the plot. Didn't seem to be any story-line. Like watching a good landscape picture. Just about enough to keep me interested. Might or might not catch part two.
Enjoyable TV, really. The parents' rejection of the little prince is unforgiveable in any circumstances and its difficult to believe that they were so indifferent to him.
Can't help feeling that it's all just another opportunity to undermine the actual monarchy by showing how badly their ancestors handled the situation.
Where are the TV films showing all the good things British monarchy has accomplished in the past?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a monarchist, I'm American, so far from it.
Good TV nonetheless.
Nicely shot, well acted, however poor story and so-so script. Quite Dull. Worst Poliakoff drama ever.
Re comments on the prince's size: a recent documentary on local TV (which was helpful to have watched beforehand) explained about another condition the prince had which accelerated his growth and would have led to him being extremely tall had he lived to adulthood.
Some explanation is needed about the discrepancy in size between the two brothers in the film. John not only suffered from debilitating epilepsy but he is known to have grown far too quickly for his age. One source refers to him as "a monster child". This would explain the apparent mis-casting which jarred during the first episode, particularly towards the end. Otherwise, I found it engrossing.
What was a promising programme was ruined by the BBC's build up. Countless times we were told of the excesses, of the contempt for the young prince etc etc. There was even a short scene repeatedly shown of a dog running along a "red carpet" (the implication being that the "Royals" were so weird that even their pets got the "red carpet treatment") yet in the programme it was clear that the dog had strayed onto the carpet. The BBC should be ashamed of its misleading promotion of this programme!
Was pretty confused as whom I thought was Bertie was referred to as Georgie, thought there were more children in the brood. Slow paced, clipped dialogue but great portrayal by Miranda Richards son as Queen Mary.
It was OK, but if someone asks me to meet them down the pub next Sunday evening I may just have to miss out.
I was really looking forward to a promised fascinating insight into the son I knew nothing about. I agree with the rest of the comments here, very slow, clipped script but Miranda Richardson shone brightly as ever, she must be the new Maggie Smith. Beautifully shot was about the most I could muster as a compliment.
I'm sick of it already - I have no interest in the subject but have been bombarded with trailers on TV and most irritatingly during programmes like Today and PM on Radio 4 and even on the daily emailed news bulletin. I've no intention of watching it - stop telling me about it!
It was wonderful! It IS slow, but in a thoughtful, measuring way that allows the audience time to soak up the opulence of the setting and costumes, the magnificence of which might be lost if there were too much "action".
Good costumes and settings, but perhaps a little too slow and not too clear what the real story is if I hadn't read an article about this beforehand. Anyhow, good production.
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