‘Blair lifted lines from my film as his memory of Queen’
‘Surely he didn’t say the very things that I’ve written that he’d said? Much of what I write, I’m just guessing’
THE writer of The Queen, the Oscarwinning film, has taken a swipe at Tony Blair after claiming the former prime minister quoted lines of script from scenes in the film for his autobiography.
Peter Morgan, a Bafta-winning screenwriter, said Mr Blair’s memory had “sort of become blurred” over his recollection of conversations with the Queen for his 2011 book My Journey, published five years after the film’s cinema release.
Morgan, 55, who is nominated for 13 Emmys for his work on The Crown, accused Mr Blair of having a “blurred” memory and took him to task over “pretending” not to have watched the film.
During a US radio interview, he said: “There came a moment after the film that I wrote, The Queen, had come out where Tony Blair was asked about his audience with the Queen.
“And in his book, his autobiography, which, of course, came out many years after we made The Queen, Tony Blair, when referring back to that critical period in the aftermath of Diana’s death, used a number of expressions and quotations that seemed to me to be very familiar because they sounded like my dialogue.
“And I remember thinking, ‘Well, hang on a minute. That can’t be right’.
“That it can’t be right that I got it right. I can’t have got it that right.
“I mean, I think we were all pretty confident we knew what Tony Blair represented. We knew what the Queen thought.
“But surely he didn’t say the very things that I’ve written (in the script) that he’d said?”
In an interview with National Public Radio, Morgan said he then telephoned colleagues to check whether they had read Mr Blair’s autobiography because it “sounded very much like the scene that I wrote”.
He added: “And it seems that even Blair’s memory had sort of become blurred with what we had done.
“And it’s both funny but also sobering because you suddenly realise that, once you watch something on film, it becomes that thing. It becomes the way it was. And so much of what I write can’t be exactly the way it was because I don’t know. I’m just guessing.
“And then for Blair, in this particular instance, to have taken those imaginations or guesses and to reconstruct them as the truth was confusing in his own account.
“He said, ‘I then said that’. I was like, ‘Well, you didn’t. At least, I don’t think you did. Well, if you did, what a stroke of luck on my behalf. But I’m pretty sure you’re actually just quoting what I wrote, which you have watched and which you’ve subsequently denied that you’ve watched but which you’ve clearly watched’.”
Mr Blair’s memoir, A Journey: My Political Life, for which he was reportedly paid a £4.6million advance, was released in 2011, five years after The Queen’s release.
A spokesman for Mr Blair insisted: “He has never watched The Queen.” The film, directed by Stephen Frears, starred Helen Mirren in the title role and Michael Sheen reprised his role as Mr Blair from The Deal.
Helen Mirren and Michael Sheen play the Queen and Tony Blair, pictured left, in The Queen