chapter  7
20 Pages

Voices Made For Print: Crip Voices on the Radio

WithBill Kirkpatrick

Winner of the “Best Picture” Academy Award for 2010, The King’s Speech dramatizes the struggles of Britain’s King George VI (Colin Firth), a rather private man who had suff ered with a speech impediment since his youth. When George suddenly fi nds himself elevated to the throne and called upon to reassure and guide the nation through World War II, his stammer becomes a particular liability: how can he be the symbolic voice of the nation if he cannot even control his own physical voice? The stakes couldn’t be higher, with nothing less than the fate of the nation resting on the king’s ability to produce “normal” speech for radio.2 Fortunately, with the help of an unconventional speech therapist, the king learns to conquer his stammer enough to address his subjects on BBC radio, thereby fulfi lling his duty as the emblem of England’s character at a time of extreme crisis.3