Film ID:
YFA 5615



Visitor Tabs


This documentary, made by Yorkshire Television and originally broadcast on 14th January, 1982, is a portrait of the life of George Lascelles, 7th Earl of Harewood.  The film looks at the whole of his life, focusing on his work with the English National Opera, and the first night of Seven Deadly Sins.  With commentary by Richard Whiteley, there are extensive interviews with George Lascelles talking about his war years, his divorce and his career.  It also shows George Lascelles at a Leeds United football match.

The film begins with a view looking towards Harewood House, where Lord Harewood is in his study with a view over the lake, listening to a record – the record is Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, although the music playing is Mozart’s overture to the Magic Flute.  He explains what it is like to live in the huge house, while the commentary gives some family background. 

The Earl leaves his London home at 22 Blomfield Road, Bayswater, kisses his wife goodbye and then arrives at London Coliseum Theatre and the English National Opera.  Here there are behind the scenes shots of preparations for a performance of the Seven Deadly Sins, starring Marty Webb, including costume making, while the audience waits in the auditorium drinking champagne.  Then opening night November 10th, 1981, his double-bill of Weill and Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tiresias. 

Then back on the estate watching children play on the rope swings in the adventure playground.  The bird garden is shown, and the Lord and Lady look around the grounds with the land agent Neville Usher.  There is look at how his divorce in 1967 was viewed by the press at the time.  Then he is seen watching Leeds versus Aston Villa 3rd October 1981 in a 1 -1 draw.  Then there is archive film of his christening in 1923.  He and his wife walk the dogs in the grounds, and he talks about the family background, stating that they made their money in Barbados out of sugar and (Henry Lascelles) inspector of customs, “not wholly unconnected with the slave trade” I don’t think he did it but I daresay he made something out of it.” This funded the purchase of Harewood House.

He discusses his grandparents, and there is archive film of him, aged 12, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace at the time of the Jubilee celebrations of his grandfather King George V in 1935.  He discusses this event, and also that of the king’s funeral the following year, again with archive film.  He talks more of his childhood, and of his mother, the Princess Royal, with archive film.  There follows newspaper reports concerning the outbreak of war, and he discusses his war experiences, how he was shot and caught by the Germans whilst on patrol, and ending up in Colditz in November 1944, with photographs of the prison at the time.  He relates how he was taken into Austria and let loose, with archive film of him shortly after.

Back at the opening night of the Seven Deadly Sins, he stands in the foyer as customers arrive, and an account is given of his career in music.  Lascelles and his party take their seats.

The film switches to look back at his first wedding in 1949, with archive film of the occasion and then on to his second wedding in the US, with film of that occasion too.   Both at Harewood, and in his London house, he talks about his period of the divorce and leading up to it, which he had written about in his recently published memoirs.  This includes his time with a psycho-analyst, his illegitimate child and his relation now with his first wife.  Asked whether he feels “royal”, he says no, and explains why. 

Then there is a film of him being interviewed for Desert Island Discs by Roy Plumley, choosing as his first record a Haydn string quartet.  He is interviewed at the London Coliseum Theatre about his role as Managing Director of English National Opera and he is seen in a meeting there.  He wanders around during a production and has a chat with Mari Webb. 

He travels back north by train, and back at Harewood House staff prepare for the homecoming.  He is again seen at the Leeds V Aston Villa game, showing parts of the match in slow motion, including the Leeds goal, with Trevor Cherry, Paul Hart, Frank Gray, and Arthur Graham, all to the music of The Pearl Fishers' Duet from Bizet’s Les Pecheurs De Perles.  The film finishes with Lascelles back in his study.