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The man who put Madonna right about Edward VIII


A patriotic extra has revealed how he set Madonna straight on UK royal history during the filming of her Wallis Simpson biopic, WE.

The film, which receives its UK premiere in London tonight, tells the story of the love affair between Mrs Simpson and Edward VIII, which ended in the abdication crisis of 1936.

Ben Goodman, 69, from north London, was hired to play a newspaper vendor who hands a paper proclaiming the breaking "Royal scandal" to Mrs Simpson, played by Andrea Riseborough.

The actor told i: "The script said just to hand the Daily Sketch to Andrea, who walks away, but I thought there was some bones to work with there."

Sensing his hostility to Wallis at the run-through, Madonna made a beeline for Goodman, who is a veteran of 200 films, before shooting began on the Portland Place set. The actor recalled: "Madonna came on set with her bodyguards and said, 'So, you are our disapproving newspaper vendor?'

"I said, 'Yes, we're down on Mrs Simpson over here'.

"'Not too down, I hope?' Madonna said, and asked me, 'Why?' I said, 'M, it's because we lost our king.'"

Madonna, who spent two years researching the lives of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, told Goodman that in her opinion Edward was 50 per cent to blame, since it was he who chose love over duty. "I said, 'But we didn't know all about that at the time'.

The chastened Madonna clearly liked the acidic glare that Goodman fixed on Riseborough in the scene, and a close-up of Goodman's face was used in the trailer. "That's a real compliment," Goodman said. "I think she realised that for Britons in 1936, all we knew was that we had lost our king."