Everyone Will Be a Queen

A clip from the long-running BBC programme The Good Old Days—imitation Victorian music hall, and one of the last good opportunities for some compelling performers whose talents lean more toward vaudeville than The Voice.

In this case we have Dr. Evadne Hinge and Dame Hilda Bracket, performing a winning duet originally appearing in slightly different form in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers. Offstage these performers were George Logan and Patrick Fyffe—so this is some truly impressive falsetto work, not to mention a nice pun about being queens.

They then goad the audience into a rousing rendition of ‘Land of Hope and Glory.’ (The audience don’t need much goading, actually; they’re an easy bunch, and with such big hats.) You knew you weren’t getting out of here without a Far East Prisoner of War story, so here it is: In many areas occupied by the Japanese, the singing of national anthems was forbidden. Some English-speaking prisoners adopted slightly less obvious songs as substitutes, including, for the British, this one. So the fact that it lays it on thick, musically and lyrically, may be excusable. Enjoy.

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