A play by Alan Bennett, staged in 1991 at the National Theatre, with Nigel Hawthorne as George III, possibly his most acclaimed stage role. The director was Nicholas Hytner.

It tells the story of the quarrelling of his doctors, politicians, and the Prince of Wales, as the king begins to go mad from porphyria in 1788.

The production toured to the United States, Greece, and Israel. Hawthorne received the 1992 Olivier Award and the London Critics Circle Best Actor Award for the NT run, and a Tony Award for the role in New York.

In 1995 a film was made out of it, also starring Hawthorne. It was retitled The Madness of King George for the United States market lest it sound like a sequel (allegedly).

I find that the truly masterful feature of the movie (and I confess to never having seen the play) is the way that King George's stable of doctors are portrayed as quacks for the constant attention they pay to the King's urinary and fecal output. How silly!

The irony of this, I believe, is lost on most people; and it would have been lost on me had I not been married to a doctor myself: the change in urine color is now known to be a major diagnostic red flag for porphyria. So those quacks were on the right track after all.

This should not detract in any way from the excellent cinematic performance of Ian Holm (who plays a "cutting edge" health practicioner who cures King George through what is effectively psychotherapy).

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