Writer and director Isher Sahota (“Doctors (TV)”, “Jinn (Short)”) brings you the little known and, mostly..sort of, true story of Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmerston who was an Irish peer who become prime minister of the UK at the age of 70.
We are in England, Brocket Hall in Welwyn to be precise, in 1865. Mr. Pageant, Joseph Marcell (who most of you will know from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air as the butler), is currently cajoling the French PM, Ryan Cage (“Red Dwarf (TV)”, “The Musketeers (TV)”), into signing a free trade deal.
This isn’t going exactly to plan however due to the French PM being rather unhappy about the terms of said deal, as he puts it, “it’s not the stabbing that hurts, it’s the twisting of the knife”.
Mr. Pageant’s night goes from bad to worse when the chambermaid, Rosiland, Sharon Rooney (“The Electrical Life of Louis Wain”, “Dumbo”), is heard screaming from another room. This upsets the French PM a great deal and Mr. Pageant is forced to go and investigate.
What he finds is the PM, bent over a billiard table, with his pants around his ankles…dead, no longer breathing, not of this Earth.
His enquiries with Rosiland reveal she and the PM had an agreement, a financial agreement, in which he would top up her salary in exchange for her performing certain, ‘things’.
It’s at this moment that the French PM bursts in, demanding to know what is going on and, try as he might, Mr. Pageant cannot hide the death for very long.
However, the treaty must be signed and so begins a set of back and forth deals, counter deals and bribery in order that the French PM will still sign the treaty and keep quiet that it was Mr. Pageant who signed and not the, now deceased, PM.
Good Night Henry is a wonderfully conceived and well put together short movie highlighting this little known period of British history.
The short has wonderful turns from both Joseph Marcell and Ryan Cage as they battle with each other over things such as houses and furniture whilst a dead man is in the same room and entire countries are at stake. Probably not so different to current politics one imagines.
And then Sharon Rooney pops up and wants to have her piece of the pie too. After all, she could also tell the world what really went on that night, why shouldn’t she have something in exchange for silence?
THE QUICK SELL
When the Prime Minister dies in scandalous circumstances, Mr Pageant - his closest advisor - must salvage the country's free trade deal with the visiting French ambassador whilst limiting the damage a chambermaid may cause to the country's reputation.