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Classic Drama: Edward VII with Timothy West, Helen Ryan,Felicity Kendal, Christopher Neame, Moira Redmond, Richard Vernon,Michael Hordern, Carolyn Seymour – E11/13 – King At Last


This Episode

After a nearly 60-year wait, Bertie becomes King upon the death of his mother Queen Victoria, and announces that, contrary to the wish of his parents, who wished him to reign as King Albert Edward, he will reign as King Edward VII. There is much speculation as to whether he is up to the job. The King’s nephew, the German Kaiser, proposes an Anglo-German alliance and the King supports it but several of his Ministers simply do not take him seriously. Although now Queen, Alix is having some trouble adjusting to their new life, refusing to live at Buckingham Palace and reluctant to leave Marlborough House, the home designated for the Prince of Wales, their son George. The King’s sister, Vicky – the Kaiser’s mother – is dying of cancer and soon after his ascension, he travels to Germany to see her; at Vicky’s request, the King’s secretary, Ponsonby, manages to smuggle her letters out of Germany. The King is frustrated when his coronation is postponed due to the Boer War. When it is finally scheduled, it must be postponed again as the King must undergo emergency surgery to remove his appendix just two days before the ceremony; the planned festivities for the populace proceed regardless. Finally, in a more modest ceremony, on 9 August 1902, Bertie and Alix are crowned.

The Series

Edward the Seventh is a 1975 British television drama series, made by ATV in 13 episodes.

Based on the biography of King Edward VII by Philip Magnus, it starred Timothy West as the elder Edward VII and Simon Gipps-Kent and Charles Sturridge as Edward in his youth, and Annette Crosbie as Queen Victoria. It was directed by John Gorrie, who wrote episodes 7–10 with David Butler writing the remainder of the series.

Only the final three episodes dramatised Edward as King (in line with his short, nine-year reign, which did not begin until he was nearly sixty years old). Annette Crosbie, who won a BAFTA for her performance, was given top billing in the series (appearing in ten out of the thirteen episodes).

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