We were delighted some time ago to hear that a film entitled the King's Speech was being made about the late King George Vl and that it would be mainly concerned about his stammer and the therapy he undertook to try and control it. We felt that any major film that featured stammering could hopefully only do well in improving public awareness and appreciation of the problem. As more news of the progress of the film became available it was clear that this was a major project with an impressive line-up of international actors. Since completion, the film walked away with the coveted people's choice award at the Toronto Film Festival. Following its public release in the UK the film went on to win a Golden Globe award for Colin Firth, and a number of Baftas and Oscar successes to complete the awards season.
The film directed by Tom Hooper, tells the story of the man who became King George Vl (played by Colin Firth), the father of Queen Elizabeth ll. After his brother abdicates, George ('Bertie') reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a severe stammer and considered unfit to be king, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist Lionel Logue (played by Geoffrey Rush). Through a set of unexpected techniques, and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly continue to lead his country into war.
Whilst it is believed that therapist Lionel Logue used some unorthodox ways, the diaphragmatic breathing and voice projection methods featured in the film, are today still helping hundreds of adults and young people who stammer, thanks to the work of the non-profit making Starfish Project. Anne Blight founded The Starfish Project in 1998 to help people who stammer learn a technique to control something that had been controlling them. Anne worked and developed the breathing and projection and coupled them with other modern methods that were known to help control stammering as the basis of the Starfish technique.
We hope that the success of the film will improve a greater public awareness of stammering. We respect the work done by pioneers like Lionel Logue and are proud to continue developing the starfish technique which has helped to make the difference for so many people who stammer.
The Starfish Project still treasures a personal letter sent from Clarence House in November 1999 which says that the Queen Mother, wife of the late King, 'who is very aware of problems caused by stammering, was pleased to know of all the work you are doing to help those in need of assistance'. The letter goes on 'to convey Her Majesty's best wishes for the continued success of your endeavours'.
Read more about Starfish's stammering control training courses: