Ghosts actor Simon Farnaby has reflected on an awkward encounter with the Queen while filming the Paddington platinum jubilee concert special.
In June 2022, Queen Elizabeth II, who died three months later, participated in a pre-recorded sketch that kicked off the Platinum Party at the Palace concert.
In a similar vein to the segment she filmed alongside Daniel Craig’s James Bond for the London Olympics opening ceremony in 2012, the sketch saw the Queen showcase her acting skills opposite the CGI Paddington Bear, voiced by Ben Whishaw.
Ghosts star Farnaby appeared in the clip as the Paddington character Barry the Security Guard and it turns out he endured a rather awkward moment with the Queen after misunderstanding something she told him.
Speaking on Richard Herring’s podcast, RHLSTP, Farnaby said that, he “Needlessly just went up to her” after filming had ended “and said ‘Ma’am, that was fantastic – you’re a very good actress’.”
When the queen replied: “Well, I do it all the time,” Farnaby said he thought “she was giving me a scoop”, and asked: “Ooh, you mean like playing the part of the Queen?”
However, she said in reply: “I beg your pardon?”, following which Farnaby said he “lost all all of my confidence”.
“I thought she [meant] like it’s a part, a role, and I went, ‘I mean like it’s a role, isn’t it, the Queen, and you play it?’ and she said, ‘You know I am the Queen? Paddington’s not real – they’re actors, but I’m the Queen.”
Farnaby said she then elaborated she was alluding to her annual Christmas speech.
Elsewhere in the podcast, Farnaby said that the line in which the Wueen tells Paddington she keeps her emergency stash of marmalade sandwiches in her handbag had to be shot a few times as her tone was too severe.
“The director would come in and say, ‘Ma’am, could you just be a bit gentler?’’” Farnaby said, adding: “And she’d be so sweet and she’d go, ‘I’m so sorry, yes of course.’
“I was saying to him, ‘Give up, just stop, we’re not going to get it. And he said, ‘No, I think just a couple more.’
Farnaby said “it was OK in the end” as she was directed to deliver the line as if she was speaking to her grandchildren.
The sketch ended with Paddington wishing the Queen a “happy jubilee” and thanking her “for everything”.