BBC Radio 4, 1 April 2009
This comedy recounted the tale of two fly-by-night plasterers (Ricky
Tomlinson, Johnny Vegas), who are brought in to fo a brief job on one of the royal palaces. Being basically scallywags at
heart, they steal a document for no other reason to possess a souvenir of their efforts. However things do not go according
to plan; the Royal Household eventually discovers that the missing document is actually the marriage certificate of Queen
Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Immediately two civil servants are depatched to the north of England to recover it; after considerable
negotiation (and the promise of a new van for the plasterers), order is restored.
A Question of Royalty is a slight piece perpetuating north-south stereotypes;
the plasterers inhabit a working-class community in Yorkshire, drink stout and participate in stag parties; the civil servants
liken any place north of Watford to outer darkness, where a St. Clement or a Spritzer are impossible to procure. The two plasterers,
played by two favourite northern actors have a wonderful time making fun of the civil servants (Tim Bentinck, Catherine McCormack)
by impersonating their lah-di-dah accents or aping their falsely polite manners. The civil servants recall the harassed officials
of the old Ealing comedies - well-meaning yet basically useless at their jobs. Sarah (McCormack) in particular is more concerned
about whether her assignment will finish in time for her to make her wedding in Westminster Abbey. Author Andrew Lynch humorously
contrasts this affair with that of Danny (Tomlinson), whose marriage to his childhood sweetheart keeps getting postponed so
many times that we begin to wonder whether actually wants to tie the knot at all.
A Question of Royalty is based on a true story, containing a neat conclusion
at the end, as we discover that the marriage certificate is actually invalid, as the Queen's ceremony was conducted by someone
impersonating a registrar. However the potential constitutional crisis is narrowly averted, as the two plasterers are promised
a new van. The entire plot has a strong whiff of an Ealing comedy, giving full rein to the vocal talents of the two leading
actors, while treating a potentially serious subject in a light-hearted manner. A Question of Loyalty is a jolly
romp, nimbly directed by Dirk Maggs.