Before it reached the big screen, The King’s Speech was a play. At its heart is the relationship between the stuttering King George VI and the Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue’s treatment to correct the English Royal’s debilitating impediment.
As a child, writer David Seidler developed a stammer caused by the emotional trauma of World War II, including the murder of his grandparents during the Holocaust. King George VI’s success overcoming his stammer inspired him . He began researching the story in the 1970s and 80s but abandoned it after the Queen Mother asked him not to pursue the project during her lifetime. After she died in 2002, he returned to it. David discovered his own uncle was also a stutterer, who had been sent to see Lionel Logue by David’s grandfather. At a reading of the play in London’s small Pleasance Theatre in 20015 to a group of Australian expats, Tom Hooper’s mother was present and contacted her son with his “next project”.
Tom asked David to develop the screenplay. It went on to win the BAFTA and the Best Picture Oscar, however the play was left unproduced until 2012.
It made its West End premiere at Wyndhams Theatre in March after a UK tour and strong reviews. It featured Charles Edwards as the King, Jonathan Hyde as Lionel, Emma Fielding (Queen Elizabeth), Joss Ackland (George V) and Ian McNeice (Winston Churchill).
They all signed this sketch on the 12 May 2012 after the final performance.