WriterJoseph McGrath, Spike Milligan Release date1974 (UK) ScreenplaySpike Milligan, Joseph McGrath CastSpike Milligan (William Topaz McGonagall), Peter Sellers (Queen Victoria), Julia Foster (Mrs. McGonagall) Similar moviesPeter Sellers appears in The Great McGonagall and Soft Beds - Hard Battles
The great mcgonagall 1974
The Great McGonagall is a 1974 British comedy film directed by Joseph McGrath and starring Spike Milligan in the title role, Peter Sellers as Queen Victoria and Julia Foster as Mrs McGonagall. It is a humorous biopic of the Scottish poet William McGonagall that includes several of McGonagall's actual poems, his appearing in the title role of Macbeth and his "improvement" of the Bard's plot, his pilgrimage to Balmoral Castle, the attempted assassination of Queen Victoria by Roderick McLean and a tribute to McGonagall from Lt Frederick Rollo of the Royal Scots in Zululand.
The great mcgonagall 1974 it s a wonderful country that we live in
On the DVD commentary Joseph McGrath recounted the film was made in three weeks at Wilton's Music Hall in London, including one week of rehearsal. Peter Sellers was on the film for only one week. McGrath said Sellers "insisted on coming and guesting in it" and played the role of Queen Victoria on his knees, wearing roller-skates.
The film was produced by British pornography producer David Grant who forced McGrath to put in some nude scenes and used the film as a tax write-off. McGrath also dubbed midget Charlie Atom's lines when he was unavailable for the dubbing of the film.
The Great McGonagall was the seventh in a string of flops for Sellers, whose career improved with his next film, The Return of the Pink Panther (1975).
Spike Milligan - William McGonagall
Peter Sellers - Queen Victoria
Julia Foster - Mrs. McGonagall
Charlie Young Atom
A related book, The Great McGonagall Scrapbook by Spike Milligan and Jack Hobbs, was published by M & J Hobbs in 1975. A paperback edition was published by Star Books in 1976. Milligan and Hobbs went on to co-write three more McGonagall books: William McGonagall: The Truth at Last (1976, with illustrations by Peter Sellers), William McGonagall Meets George Gershwin: A Scottish Fantasy (1988) and William McGonagall: Freefall (1992).