|Peter O'Toole as "The 14th Earl of Gurney"|
My letter to the editor of The Daily Telegraph:
17 December 2013
In two of your tributes to Peter O'Toole ("Appreciation" p.7 and "Obituary" p.21, Daily Telegraph, 16 Dec. 2013) it is claimed that the great thespian played a "mad" or "beserk" British baronet in the cult film, The Ruling Class.
O'Toole's character was, in fact, the 14th Earl of Gurney. Those familiar with the film will appreciate how much offence this twice committed error of demotion would have caused the Gurneys -- for not even two baronets can equal an earl.
The Gurneys are not here to defend their honour, but one can well imagine the brusque letter the 14th Earl's patriotically prejudiced father would have written: "We are not British baronets, sir! We are English earls!"