Victoria & Abdul

History's most unlikely friendship
History's most unlikely friendship


D: Stephen Frears

Universal/BBC/Working Title/Perfect World (Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Tracey Seaward & Beeban Kidron)

UK 2017

111 mins


W: Lee Hall [based on the book by Shrabani Basu]

DP: Danny Cohen

Ed: Melanie Ann Oliver

Mus: Thomas Newman

PD: Alan MacDonald

Cos: Consolata Boyle 

Judi Dench (Queen Victoria), Ali Fazal (Abdul Karim), Tim Piggott-Smith (Henry Ponsonby), Eddie Izzard (Bertie, Prince of Wales), Michael Gambon (Robert Gascoyne-Cecil), Olivia Williams (Jane Spencer)

Twenty years after Oscar-nominated Mrs. Brown, Judi Dench reprises her role as Queen Victoria for this historical fantasia which is pretty much the same thing.

Set during the final years of Victoria's reign and based on real events, the queen develops a relationship with Abdul Karim, a Muslim Indian servant who was initially invited to Britain only to make a presentation to her majesty. 

The film ticks so many politically correct boxes, it's not a surprise at all that it was produced by the BBC, and with much of the story being presented in a non-serious way it's difficult to assess how much was actually true. Still, the performances are superb, especially from the two leads, Dame Judi Dench didn't quite nab an Oscar nomination for the performance this time around, though the film was recognised for costumes and makeup.


Judi Dench & Ali Fazal in Victoria & Abdul
Judi Dench & Ali Fazal in Victoria & Abdul