“On the BBC, I haven’t always been able to speak plainly and from the heart,” Fake Queen begins
A British broadcaster aired a technologically manipulated version of the Queen’s annual Christmas speech and, while it was satire, it was honest about things the real monarchy tries to pretend don’t exist.
Hardcore royalists didn’t even take a day off to open their presents, reacting with fury to the Alternative Christmas Message. Filmed by Channel 4 and broadcast 25 minutes after the real deal, it features actress Debra Stephenson impersonating Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The team used ‘deepfake’ technology to impose the Queen’s face on the actress, making her near-indistinguishable from the original, while Stephenson herself supplied a credible voice impression.
One aim of the project was to raise awareness for deepfake videos, which have increased by 250 percent this year, with Britain being one of the top targets for those who create them.
There were plenty of similar opinions online, with Twitter users proclaiming“The Queen is sacred! Putting ANY words in her mouth is an egregious breach of trust, not least after a lifetime of diligent dutiful service to the UK” and “Channel 4 has failed the British public for years and does not deserve its licence.”
But what the Buckingham Palace cheerleaders failed to grasp was that the joke was on them.
The fake Queen said: “On the BBC, I haven’t always been able to speak plainly and from the heart.” That was no satire, though, as, while she’s been doing it for almost 70 years, the Christmas speech is always full of clichés hailing togetherness, love and hope. It’s as if the Queen copies the words from schmaltzy greeting cards and simply mashes them together. One of the 2020 vintage was that “life brings hope”.