TV

Wallis and Edward (ITV 2005, Stephen Campbell Moore, Joely Richardson)

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Wallis Simpson and her hold over abdicated King Edward VIII has always fascinated the British public, previously filmed in 1977 as Edward and Mrs Simpson, their story as often been seen as one of weakness but this new production paints the couples relationship as the ultimate love story, Edward not letting the little fact that as king he is not allowed to marry a divorcee, an American divorcee at that!

Edward, usually seen as a stuttering foppish type, is here painted as very debonair and charming and very much in love with Mrs Simpson. When they first meet Wallis is still married and in echoes of Charles relationship with Camilla her husband Ernest is complicit in his approval of the arrangement. It’s only when Ernest does divorce his wife and Edward makes plain his wish to marry her that the problems start, especially as following the death of Edward’s father he is now in the firing line for the throne. The British Government of the day are disgusted as only politicians can be when they are doing the same things themselves, the prime minister Stanley Baldwin is played by the legendary Richard Johnson whilst David Calder is an out of favour back bencher by the name of Winston Churchill.

Of course as we all know Edward wouldn’t give up Mrs Simpson and instead gave up the chance to be King of England, the pair spent the rest of their lives in exile (albeit a stinkingly rich exile) in France and Europe. Writer Sarah Williams has done a first rate job in making both Wallis and Edward more than one dimensional cyphers, this is a handsome and expensive production, first seen on the ITV Network, late in 2005, and does a lot to show how much society has changed in just 70 years.

production details
UK | ITV – Company Pictures – Atlantic Media | 1×94 minutes | Broadcast 18 December 2005

Writer: Sarah Williams
Music: John Keane
Executive Producers: George Faber, Charles Pattinson, Nick Witkowski, Simon Vaughan
Producer: Mark Pybus
Director: David Moore.

cast
David Westhead as Ernest Simpson
Joely Richardson as Wallis Simpson
Lisa Kay as Mary Raffray
Helena Michell as Thelma Furness
Miriam Margolyes as Aunt Bessie
Stephen Campbell Moore as Edward
Simon Hepworth as Perry Brownlow
Monica Dolan as Elizabeth
David Calder as Winston Churchill
Richard Johnson as Stanley Baldwin
Julian Wadham as Alec Hardinge
Ken Bones as Maitland


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