Friday, June 14, 2024

Steve Coogan film on the finding of Richard III defamed former University of Leicester official

From the Guardian website today:

The portrayal of a former university official in Steve Coogan’s film about the discovery of the remains of Richard III is defamatory, a high court judge has ruled.

Richard Taylor, a former deputy registrar at the University of Leicester, is suing Coogan, the production company Baby Cow and the distributors Pathe.

He claims the 2022 movie The Lost King shows his character, played by Lee Ingleby, behaving in an “abominable way” towards the amateur historian Philippa Langley, played by Sally Hawkins, who spearheaded the dig.

Taylor claims the film shows him taking credit for himself and the university that was rightfully Langley’s for the 2012 discovery of Richard III’s remains in a Leicester car park more than 500 years after the king’s death.

The defendants denied that the film portrayed such a “saint and sinner” narrative but, in a judgment published on Friday, Judge Lewis said its portrayal of the former university employee was defamatory.

You can download the full judgment.

I didn't see The Lost King because I sensed it would annoy me too much, but from everything I have read about it this seems the right verdict.

The finding of Richard III was a fine example of archaeology enthusing the wider community and did not deserve such a misleading portrayal.

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