Sunday, 23 January 2011


Philip Norman wrote a column in the Mail last week in which he lamented the use of anachronistic language in both The King's Speech and Downton Abbey (while also criticising Kill Bill for not being totally realistic). The headline for the article was:

What? Sooty was in the film that is one of the leading contenders for the Best Picture Oscar? Norman explains in his final remarks, just below a large picture of Sooty:

Oh, I forgot to mention The King’s Speech’s worst crime of all. One scene has Helena Bonham Carter’s bitchy Queen Elizabeth trying to strike up a rapport with Lionel Logue’s children by asking: ‘Do you like Sooty?’ the Thirties? Actually that most malevolent of glove puppets didn’t come along until 1948 with his hammer and ink squirt and magic words: ‘Izzy-wizzy, let’s get busy.’

Izzy-wizzy...once again a scriptwriter didn’t get busy enough.

'Worst crime'? Even if this was accurate, it would hardly be a 'worst crime'.

But sadly, for Norman and the Mail's fact-checkers, it doesn't appear to be accurate - several comments under the article claim she asked a child who wasn't one of Logue's children about sweeties. Not Sooty:

- The lovely Queen Mum said (quite in keeping with the times) "would you like a sweetie?" I'm a southern girl straight out of Dixie and even I understood what she meant.

- Get a life, as you're a pretty poor critic and a deaf one. Sweeties not Sooty!!!!

- Well when I saw the film I heard "Do you like SWEETIES" not "Do you like Sooty"! One of us heard it wrong, Mr Norman.

- Philip Norman, you're an idiot. She doesn't say "do you like Sooty?", she says "do you want a sweetie?".

- Gasp! Another shock expose from the Daily Mail - "Film is work of fiction!" Whatever next?

- Did you actually watch the kings speech? Queen Elizabeth was hardly bitchy. And she was asking the boy, who was one of Logue's patients, not his son, whether he liked SWEETIES.


- Sweeties, Mr Norman; not Sooty.... when writing an article about innacuracy, surely facts should be triple-checked?

- How is this journalism?

(hat-tip to David Cronan)


  1. That's the worst review I've ever seen. Does it tell you about the brilliant performances? The great direction? No, because the reviewer is deaf as a post he witters on about the fact he thinks he heard someone say "Sooty". Typical Daily Fail columnist, only interested in going "Look at me, look at me" over and over like a 5 year old. In fact, that must be one of their recruitment criteria: Must have failed to get enough attention from mummy and daddy

  2. It seems most unlikely that she would have said "sweeties"
    I think that anachronistic and out of place language does matter, although it's not a crime
    An example that really annoyed me recently was a subtitle that had "Do finish your breakfasts," No-one at that time and place would have talked about breakfasts (any more than they would have talked about "coffees" and "teas" - but I consoled myself with the reflection that it was probably the subtitle that was wrong.

  3. did he just want an excuse to have a go at sooty?

  4. EMBARRASSING. His face must be red.


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