30 episode series on King Farouk

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Ramadan TV is over, but one serialised drama lives on: Hala Sakr seeks out informed opinion regarding the controversy surrounding the monarch's portrayal in King Farouk, which though restricted to the Saudi satellite channel during Ramadan is now being screened again on national television

It's been 55 years since King Farouk I, Egypt's last monarch, left the country and the throne, and 40 years since his death in Italy. Having kept a more or less low profile since then, the regent hit back with a vengeance this Ramadan. Since the screening of the 30-episode TV drama Al-Malik Farouk (King Farouk), written by Lamis Gaber and starring Syrian actor Taim El-Hassan, Farouk's spectre has haunted living rooms and café terraces alike, with virtually the entire population debating the merits of the monarchy, abolished a year after the king departed in 1953. An avalanche of praise for the monarchy took the country by surprise, prompting one weekly magazine often detracted for being close to the regime running a special supplement this week entitled "Long live the republic". Therein senior commentators and contemporaries of the monarchy sought to extol the virtues of the republican system over the monarchy. They address a generation who view any history written in the last 55 years with scepticism at best, rectifying a popular wisdom that found in the serial confirmation of "the truth about Egypt's maligned king" who abdicated to prevent bloodshed. This line of thinking finds expression in the last episode of King Farouk, when on his departure the monarch tells his private secretary Hassan Hosny to write down the truth if he could: Hosny, the supposedly impartial witness of an era, is to inform future generations of what really happened -- the good and the bad. In fact Hosny's memoirs were published a few years ago and in them the king appears in a less than favourable light -- an irony Gaber seems to remain unaware of even though, being an "amateur" as opposed to properly trained historian, she claims to have consulted the full range of published material including memoirs....

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