, starring Geoffrey Rush and Col' />

This account will do me no good but it might be useful to someone

The sillier moments in The King's Speech, starring Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth, were hopefully artistic licence.

The harder you try the more your mental circuits overheat.

At the end of The King's Speech the cinema audience clapped. I didn't, I winced.

You never completely cure a stammer but you nearly can, once you learn denial.

Yes, denial. It is the antithesis of all modern therapy theory but denial works. Not sympathy, not assistance and certainly not applause.

Denial was exactly what the King's therapist was trying to do for him. When he put earphones on him and recorded him reading aloud without hearing himself, it was to prove to him how normal he was.

Everyone with a mental speech impediment knows that there are plenty of situations in which they can speak normally. They know there is nothing physically wrong with them but physical therapy works. That does not mean jumping, flapping, rolling on the floor - I don't know where those movie scenes came from. Nor the singing and swearing. Whatever was in Lionel Logue's diary it can't have told the film-makers much about his techniques.

I hope the sillier moments were dramatic licence but it is possible they have been inspired by some current theory in the field. Doubtless there is a psychological explanation for the stutter I suffered in my early teens but to this day I cannot imagine what might have caused it.

Unlike Bertie Windsor I had a normal, happy home. I was settled and successful at school, confident among classmates and remained so, surprisingly, after a demon seized my voice. But in class, if reading something aloud or asking or answering a question, a consonant would stick in my throat.

In the instant that it happens you don't know why, but the blockage sends such an electric seizure to your brain and you can't relax to get the damn sound out. The harder you try the more your mental circuits overheat from embarrassment. You know everyone listening is wishing they could help you and that doesn't help at all. You know how hard it must be for them and you hate it.

You quickly come to know the situations in which it is liable to happen and the anxiety only makes it more likely. You know the words that are liable to do it and you see them coming.

I was sent to a woman in the education service who saw me regularly for a while. Essentially she had me read to her. Between sessions I had to practice on my own every night, reading aloud, hearing my fluent voice. She did another important thing, she told my parents never to finish a sentence for me. I think she told my teachers too. I was going to beat this thing every time.

It was a long time ago and I don't remember precisely when or how the demon was driven into a dark recess of my head where it lurks still, ignored and denied. Somewhere along the road I became stronger than it was.

At odd moments it can still surprise me but seldom more than momentarily because it triggers a conscious relaxation now and I can usually talk around it.

You get to know your boundaries. Making a speech is no problem provided I have written it myself. Give me somebody else's words and I'm a wreck. I can talk from a stage but not from the floor. I can face television but only off the cuff. I wouldn't want to tackle a script.

Denial means I don't worry about it, don't mention it. One thing certain to let the demon out of its cave is to acknowledge it. This account will do me no good but it might be interesting and even useful to someone.

Denial works because it is true; there is no physical speech impediment. It is all in the mind. It is a needless, ridiculous, infuriating little fiction of your own creation.

Denial depends on the delusion that other people have no idea. Writing this, I have to get well out of my head to realise that people who know me do know. Even a rare stumble is telling. But mercifully I don't detect that any of them think much about it. The worst thing in the world would be to be defined by an affliction. If denial preserves me from that, more power to denial.

When the King had delivered his war speech the last thing he would have wanted was the mightily relieved applause from the courtiers and politicians depicted in the film.

The real Winston Churchill for one, would have known that what he needed more than anything was to be treated as normal.

The man would have happily walked out of that studio to an unsurprised reception, his achievement taken for granted.

He knew what it had taken to face that microphone. He had proven himself to himself. That was all he had to do.