The film The King’s Speech shows how George VI, played brilliantly by Colin Firth, struggled to overcome his stammer with the help of speech therapist Lionel Logue. Having been lucky enough to go to the premiere at the BFI London Film Festival back in October – and as someone who thought the film was touching, funny and inspiring – I’ve been waiting for the media hype to begin.
What I didn’t predict was the British Stammering Association’s (BSA) relevant and timely reaction, which has moved the media commentary away from the glamorous world of actors, Oscars and red-carpet dresses and highlighted what can be an embarrassing and misunderstood condition.
The BSA is calling the film “a once-in-a-generation moment to create change and to increase awareness” and organising a national campaign around it. The BSA has been quoted or referenced in almost every piece I’ve come across over the past week – from high profile broadcast interviews to smaller health-focused blogs. It’s not only the sheer volume of coverage they’ve achieved but the accuracy of messaging that’s impressed me and I think this is down to the fact that the chief exec Norbert Lieckfeldt, seems to have personally spoken to every journalist who has written a piece.
The Oscar-contender may have moved the subject of stammering to the forefront of the media agenda but in my opinion the BSA has done a fantastic job of capitalising on this and making sure the subject is talked about in an accurate and sympathetic way.