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The Bonnie Prince

I can't believe that anyone is making a fuss about an English actor being cast to play Charles Edward Stuart in a film about his escape from Scotland after his disastrous defeat at Culloden in 1746. It is just a shame that casting director could not find a part-Polish, part-Italian, part-French, part-Danish, part-English, part-Scottish actor for the role. After all, that would reflect the bloodline of the real Young Pretender. I'm guessing the implication of the media fuss is that it should have been a Scottish actor. The Great Getaway production team that chose Jamie Bacon for the lead role would appear to have a better grasp of Scottish historic reality than some in the media. And talking of pretenders, English actor David Niven was the last big star to have a go at the Bonnie Prince Charlie role back in 1948 - with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders cast as his ill-fated army. Niven, the Great Pretender, claimed to have been born in Kirriemuir but was in fact born in England. Niven was a raconteur par excellence and as an entertainer never let the facts get in the way of a great tale. His story of being at the hospital bedside of legendary Highland Light Infantry Company Sergeant Major Sixty Smith when the regimental pipe band marches as he lies dying could not have happened the way Niven describes it. Smith died three years after Niven quit the army and not, as the actor claimed, in Malta but in Egypt. But back to the Young Pretender. At least Niven did not become the drunken wife beater that the real Bonnie Prince Charlie turned out to be. 


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