Victoria and Abdul (PG) ***

Dir: Stephen Frears

With: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal

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Runtime: 112 minutes

THE true story of the friendship between Queen Victoria and Abdul Karim, an Indian servant, is given the full biopic treatment by Stephen Frears. The director of the Queen has walked this way before, as has Dench, whose friendship with a certain ghillie was dramatised in Mrs Brown. Drawing from the book by Shrabani Basu, Frears for the most part delivers a court caper, complete with scandalised courtiers making waspish comments while Eddie Izzard acts his mutton chops off as Bertie, Prince of Wales. What saves the whole shooting match from insufferable tweeness is Frear’s addition of some sharp political edges to the upstairs-downstairs going on, and the incomparable Dench.

The Jungle Bunch (U) **

Dirs: Eric Tosti, David Alaux

Voices: Michel Mella, Paul Borne

Runtime: 97 minutes

A PENGUIN sharing the same stomping ground as a tiger and a koala? While one hardly expects Attenborough-level precision in a children’s animated movie, Eric Tosti and David Alaux’s romp sets out a bizarre stall from the off. “Psycho koala” Igor is determined to blow up the jungle. Who will save paradise from his evil clutches: will it be The Champs, a brave but ageing band of heroes led by Natacha the tiger, or the up and coming Jungle Bunch, whose leader, a penguin, is Natacha’s son, and whose ranks also include her grandson, a fish? Told you it was bonkers. Young cinemagoers should get a kick out of the general craziness.