Given its long time prominence as a major world city, it is perhaps surprising to realise that London has been menaced by Giant Apes only twice in its near two thousand year history, as well as slightly chilling to think what could have happened - and might very well happen again...
In 1961, Konga, a chimpanzee from the Congo transformed into a 300 foot tall killer ape by bad science, terrorised the streets of the capitol, eventually ending up at Westminster, as if he were on his way to deliver a petition bearing ten thousand signatures asking that he not be massacred by a platoon of machine gun and mortar wielding soldiers.
Unlike the astronaut / alien hybrid attack on Westminster Abbey in 1953 (a mere two months after the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in the same building) there is, unfortunately, no live documentary footage of Konga's rampage, but the incident did immediately inspire a film version which contains my favourite line in any language from any time: ‘there's a huge monster gorilla that's constantly growing to outlandish proportions loose in the streets!’ As in real life, the filmic response to this poetic statement was, sadly, 'KILL IT!' and poor, sweet Konga was shot to bits by unsympathetic squaddies. Poignantly, Konga reverted to his original form on death: a rather sad little chimp - with five hundred holes in its tattered carcass.
Less than twenty years later, the city once again trembled at the mercies of a prodigious primate, this time of the female gender. The curvaceous Queen Kong was the unofficial ruler of the island of Lazanga until she was snatched away by a British expedition and brought back to London as a tourist attraction, never a good idea.
Understandably pretty miffed, Her Majesty the Monkey escaped her captivity and, of course, made her way to the Houses of Parliament where, happily, the situation was resolved without fatalities because of her love for a squat, unfunny ape man hybrid, although an Action Man helicopter was badly damaged. Queen Kong returned to Lazonga by barge and London breathed a sigh of relief, shrugged its shoulders and went back to thinking itself cooler and far more important than the rest of the UK.