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Gambon in 'Secret Royal' Drama

Derek Robbins * Teletext * 06/06/2002

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Sir Michael Gambon heads the cast of a new BBC1 drama which tells the little-known story of Prince John, the epileptic son of George V.

The Lost Prince features Sir Michael as Edward VII. The cast includes Tom Hollander as George V, Miranda Richardson as Queen Mary and Gina McKee as the Prince's devoted nanny.

It's penned by Stephen Poliakoff, who said: "The Prince had epilepsy and autism. He became a forgotten boy."

More than 600 boys auditioned for the part of Prince John.

Matthew Thomas, who had a small part in Billy Elliot, and Daniel Williams were chosen to play Queen Elizabeth II's tragic uncle at different ages.

The drama is set during the build-up to WWI. It is being shot on location in Suffolk, Norfolk and London until July. Prince John, who suffered from epilepsy and autism, died aged just 13 in 1919.

The BBC describes The Lost Prince as a "big and ambitious" project.

Poliakoff, who penned the award-winning Shooting The Past and Perfect Strangers, researched the project at Windsor's royal archives.

BBC drama boss Jane Tranter said: "It continues the themes of his previous two dramas in examining how much children are influenced by their parents." Producer John Chapman added: "It's a fascinating insight."

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