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The Lost Prince

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Miranda Richardson as Queen Mary in The Lost Prince

The Lost Prince is a two-part British television drama, produced by Talkback Thames for the BBC and originally broadcast on BBC One in January 2003. Written and directed by the highly-acclaimed scriptwriter Stephen Poliakoff, the production tells the true story of Prince John, the youngest child of Britain's King George V and Queen Mary, who died of epilepsy at the age of 13 in 1919.

John was also autistic, and the Royal Family tried to hide him from public view as much as possible; the play shied away from presenting the Royal Family as ogres, and instead showed how much this would have cost them emotionally (particularly John's mother, Queen Mary). Poliakoff explores the story of John, his relationship with his family, the political events going on at the time (particularly the fall of the House of Romanov in 1917) and the love and devotion shown to him by his nanny, Lalla, played by Gina McKee.

The director was descended from Russian monarchists on his grandmother's side, and there is a moving portrayal of Tsar Nicholas II's execution in 1918, when the Russian Emperor and his family were brutally murdered. However, some historians criticised the production's depiction of Nicholas and his wife Alexandra as two-dimensional and stereotypical. Nicholas was portrayed as weak and incompetent, with the Empress Alexandra as a domineering snob.

Other actors to feature in the production are Miranda Richardson as Queen Mary, Michael Gambon as King Edward VII, Tom Hollander as King George V, and Bill Nighy as Lord Stanfordham. It won a high viewing figure and much praise, was released on VHS and DVD and repeated on BBC One in January 2004, almost exactly one year after its original showing. Both Miranda Richardson and Gina McKee received Best Actress BAFTA TV Award nominations in April 2004, although they were both beaten to the award itself by Julie Walters.

When the production was transmitted in the US in October 2004, it garnered huge critical acclaim and a Golden Globe nomination for Miranda Richardson.

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