'For Christ sake's James! You're making bloody hard going out of this collar!'

[Transcript from Episode 1 - SOURCE around 65 or so lines down from the top.]

This is from The Crown on Netflix, I was wondering what it might mean, I googled it and nothing of help came up.

It sounds really awkward as well, don't know if this is dated usage or something else.

Context: Location: UK, Time: 1947 London.
The king is getting his collar done up by his butler(James), and the King is getting annoyed at James because he's taking too long or something. It's hard to describe and I can't find any clips of the moment, sorry.

EDIT: Found a clip, here it is. - Time-stamp: 1:00


1 Answer 1


To make hard going out of something, or to make something hard going means making the task unnecessarily laborious. A person can be described as hard going, as in, "I sat next to Uncle Fred at dinner. He is very hard going". That means that it is a great effort to have a pleasant conversation with him.

In 1940s London many men wore stiff starched collars that had to be fastened to the shirt with studs. Fastening them was (and is still for the few men who still wear them) a very fiddly job that a gentleman's valet would be expected to do smoothly and expertly, unlike in the case you quote.

  • Thank you, one more thing if you don't mind, is there anything that I wrote in my question that seems awkward to you as a native speaker, anything that you would have said differently?
    – FroztC0
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 22:52
  • 1
    It looks all right to me. If I were being picky I would say you should put "I" before "don't" in the second paragraph.
    – JeremyC
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 23:01

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