‘One can’t help where one is born. Or one’s station, of course. The trick to happiness is to be content where one is. Or so I am told.’
1979. Clarence House, London. The Queen Mother’s receptions are in full swing and the champagne is flowing. Guiding the proceedings is William ‘Billy’ Tallon, page of the backstairs, keeper of the keys, holder of the royal corgis – and the royal secrets.
Outside the palace walls, unemployment, inflation and industrial action are bringing Britain to its knees, and the country is on the verge of changing seismically under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. These two worlds are about to collide, with dizzying consequences for everyone…
Backstairs Billy examines the fifty-year relationship between the Queen Mother and her most loyal, most outrageous servant, who joined her household at the age of fifteen. Marcelo Dos Santos’s irreverent comedy was first produced by the Michael Grandage Company at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London, in 2023, directed by Grandage and starring Penelope Wilton and Luke Evans.
‘The best royal drama in a decade… Abounding with witty entertainment and curiosity value, it confirms the promise shown by Marcelo Dos Santos’
‘Nothing has made me laugh more… it’s the funniest play Ive seen this year’
— Sunday Times
‘Gleefully subversive and unexpectedly hard-hitting, with some great one-liners’
— Time Out
‘Smart and shrewd… the most unusual depiction of an unlikely duo since Judi Dench crossed wits with Billy Connolly in Mrs Brown… by turns devastating and delicious’
— Arts Desk
‘Plays like a cross between The Crown and X-rated PG Wodehouse’
— The Times
‘An early festive delight… makes The Crown look too careful’
‘Bubblingly witty, with many great one-liners’
— Financial Times