The Lost King (12A)

The Lost King (12A)

Director: Stephen Frears

Runtime: 108 mins

Cast: Sally Hawkins, Steve Coogan, Harry Lloyd, Mark Addy, Lee Ingleby, James Fleet

Synopsis: In 2012, having been lost for over 500 years, the remains of King Richard III were discovered beneath a carpark in Leicester. The search had been orchestrated by an amateur historian, Philippa Langley, whose unrelenting research had been met with incomprehension by her friends and family and with scepticism by experts and academics. THE LOST KING is the life-affirming true story of a woman who refused to be ignored and who took on the country’s most eminent historians, forcing them to think again about one of the most controversial kings in England’s history.


Coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the incredible discovery of the long-lost remains of King Richard III –  last Plantagenet King of England – in a Leicester car park.

The Lost King  reunites the creative team behind the 2013 Oscar-nominated hit Philomena, with Stephen Frears directing from a script by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope.

Paddington and The Shape of Water star Sally Hawkins leads as the remarkable Philippa Langley whom we first meet as she struggles with an unfulfilling job where she is frequently undermined by her male colleagues.

Everything changes, however, when she attends a theatre production of Shakespeare’s Richard III with her son. The play famously portrays the monarch as a tyrant and brutal killer – as did much of the historical record – but Philippa instantly believes he is being unfairly represented and actually feels sorry for him.

She begins to take a keen interest in learning all she can about his life and is soon  purchasing eight books, joining the local King Richard III society, and starting her mission to find his grave.

Richard himself even makes appearances, with Philippa seen telling him, “I know you’re some sort of apparition. I’ve been trying to work out why you’re here. I wonder if it’s because you’re lost.”

Her husband John (Steve Coogan) is not so optimistic about her new mission and is  disbelieving and concerned when she reveals her plan and even the apparition of Richard himself.  “This is starting to look like an unhealthy obsession.” he tells her.

But Philippa remains defiant in her mission, explaining: “All the information I need to find him, it’s all out there. But I don’t think anybody’s brought it all together before.”

While we remember the headlines of the remains of King Richard being exhumed in 2012 — from a very unlikely spot, after being lost for over 500 years – the story we heard less about was this tenacious, amateur Edinburgh historian whose tireless research led to this momentous discovery.

Dismissed by experts and academics, The Lost King charts Philippa Langley’s

fight to be heard among the the country’s most eminent historians, forcing them to

confront compelling research into one of England’s most controversial kings.

 The Lost King is an entertaining and life-affirming true story of a woman who refused to be ignored.

In addition to Sally Hawkins and Steve Coogan, the excellent ensemble cast for the film also includes Mark Addy as archaeologist Richard Buckley and Harry Lloyd as King Richard III.

In cinemas

Images courtesy of Pathé UK