TV drama recreates 1982 break-in at Buckingham Palace

LONDON- As she celebrates 60 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II may be forgiven for wanting to blank out a few episodes in her reign, including the night 30 years ago when an intruder broke into her bedroom.
But the incident at Buckingham Palace is now being revived in a new British television drama, starring Emma Thompson as the barefoot monarch who was startled in her nightgown by father-of-four Michael Fagan.

Legend has it that Fagan, then 31, sneaked into the palace and managed to find his way to the queen's bedroom, where he sat on her four-poster bed and had a 10-minute chat before being taken away by security.
In an interview with the Independent on Sunday earlier this month, however, he contested this version, saying: "She went past me and ran out of the room, her little bare feet running across the floor."
The incident in July 1982 sparked a row about the queen's security, and royal officials are unlikely to appreciate it being revived in a Sky Arts drama later this year, as the monarch celebrates her diamond jubilee.
"Walking The Dogs" is pitched as a comedy-drama, in which the queen and Fagan "discuss love, family and personal freedom before the police arrive to take him away", according to a Sky Arts statement.
Fagan criticised producers for recreating the incident, telling the Daily Telegraph newspaper: "The Queen deserves respect and I'm sorry that all the focus over all these years has been on the fact that I was in her bedroom.
"I can't believe they're now putting so much attention on it, particularly in her jubilee year.
"It was just a moment of madness. For her to be dragged through the dirt by me isn't nice. And how can they make a drama? They don't know what happened in there."
Fagan was initially charged with the theft of some wine from the palace but the charges were dropped.
He was later detained for several months in a psychiatric hospital and since then has been charged with a string of offences, including for dealing heroin, for which he was jailed for four years, according to the Independent on Sunday.
Fagan told the newspaper that the bedroom break-in was actually his second visit to the palace, explaining that a month earlier he had climbed in through the window of a shocked maid's bedroom.
Recalling the moment he pulled back the curtain on the queen's bed to see her staring up at him, he said: "I was scareder than I'd ever been in my life.
"Then she speaks and it's like the finest glass you can imagine breaking: 'Wawrt are you doing here?'."

Saturday, February 25th 2012

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