I showed a film at Movie Night, a couple of months back, and it was amazing.

Am. Az. Ing.

Perhaps not for everyone, but definitely for me.

For those of us who went to a normal comprehensive secondary school and who made the mistake of choosing geography (which seemed like a good idea at the time because, even then, I could get lost in a one-way system and rarely knew where I was) over history (which I should have taken because I have a memory for dates and I like a good story), there are great stretches of human existence about which I know absolutely bugger-all.

All I remember of history lessons at primary school was a big old dollop of the Tudors, the early explorers (Magellan, Cabot, Columbus) and a bit on the Romans. My mother encouraged me to learn the Kings in order with the rhyme that everyone knows – but if you don’t, here it is…

Willy, Willy, Harry, Ste, Harry, Dick, Jock, Henry 3, Ned 1, 2, 3, Richard 2, Henry 4, 5, 6, then who?

A very good question. Thank God for Google. Edward IV, apparently.

In secondary school, we spent a lot of time on the Second World War, a little bit on the First World War, and then my mind’s a blank.

I remember reading something when I was thirteen, or thereabouts, which stated that champagne glasses were based on Marie Antoinette’s breasts. I frowned for about three years because all I could think was, “That poor woman.”

Of course, I was thinking of champagne flutes.


This is the problem – I’ll warn you, there is a time-honoured rant coming – with making kids pick their life’s ambition when they’re fourteen. I can’t pretend to speak for the rest of the world, but I knew just about nothing at fourteen. Choosing between French and German was easy. Those of you who know me will understand that, given what my accent is like in English, French was never going to work. And choosing Food Tech, which had just changed its name from Home Economics, over CDT and textiles was simple because – I like to eat.

My point is, as soon as you start specialising, by narrowing your field of study, you wind up closing out possible futures which, true enough, you can return to later in life, but it feels too early when everything else is all a-tumble because being a teenager is awful.

Okay, rant over. Thank you for bearing with me. I’m assuming you have.

So, history. One thing I know for certain is we did not study Queen Anne. Until I saw ‘The Favourite’, my knowledge of Queen Anne consisted of the following: my Jack Russell’s slightly out-turned feet were named after the furniture that was named for her.


Otherwise – nothing.

Imagine my excitement on seeing a film with a first class story, a hunk of history I didn’t know and a cast including Olivia Colman.


Sprinkle on a bit of court-manipulation, women not acting all sweet, clueless and genteel at a time when that was the general idea, and some pretty compelling and totally unexpected lesbianism, and I’m happy.