Walking The Dogs. The Queen (Emma Thompson). Copyright: Sprout Pictures.

Walking The Dogs

Sky Arts comedy drama. 1 episode in 2012. Stars Emma Thompson, Eddie Marsan, Russell Tovey, Malcolm Storry and Bryony Afferson.

Walking The Dogs

Touching comedy drama based on the events of an intruder breaking into the Queen's bedroom. Stars Emma Thompson as the monarch

Comedy Drama
Sky Arts
Emma Thompson, Eddie Marsan, Russell Tovey, Malcolm Storry and Bryony Afferson
Helen Greaves
Jeremy Brock
Mike Elliott

In 1982, unemployed father of four Michael Fagan climbed up the garden walls of Buckingham palace and broke into Queen Elizabeth's bedroom while her footman was out walking the dogs. In this comedy drama based on the real life incident, we follow the Queen, her footman and the intruder over the dramatic half hour which he spends in her bedroom.

In the first part of the drama, the tension is almost unbearable; the intruder is trying to take in the enormity of what he's just done and the Queen, used to having her every minute planned months in advance, suddenly wakes up to find a stranger in her bedroom. A few minutes later, she discreetly presses the alarm button, her gaze fixed intently and calmly on the intruder all the while, and he eventually breaks the uncomfortable silence by lapsing into desparate sobs.

He explains that he hadn't planned this, and, oblivious to the irony of it all, he tells her she ought to get some barbed wire on her garden walls to prevent any crazy people from intruding on her.

Meanwhile, in a twist that makes it seem as though destiny had designed this incident down to every detail, alarms are ignored and the footman is enjoying his day, chatting to the gardener about how happy he is.

The absurdity of these two people being brought together by such an extraordinary event is intriguing and captivating, but even more so is the fact that the Queen, a woman of such an untouchable status, is reduced to a normal, sympathetic human being who listens to and advises a distressed man. As they talk about love, happiness and personal freedom, we are reminded of how different and yet alike people can be, and we get a glimpse of the bigger picture from an outside perspective.

Production Details

Part of

Playhouse Presents

Production company
Laugh track

Broadcast details

First broadcast
Thursday 31st May 2012 on Sky Arts at 9:30pm
Episode length
30 minutes
Last repeat
Thursday 21st April 2016 at 7:30pm

Website links