KEELEY HAWES, TOBY STEPHENS, TIMOTHY SPALL LEAD BBC SERIES
First look at Keeley Hawes in the series!
The six-episode hourlong series is set in the UK during the Cold War period of the late 1950s, a time when the UK, like much of the world, was dealing with the threat of international espionage and nuclear armageddon.
Helen Flint (Patrick Melrose) will executive produce for Little Island Productions and Lucy Richer for the BBC. The drama was commissioned by Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two, and Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, and will be distributed internationally by BBC Studios. Filming has begun in and around London and Oxford.
The series follows Samuel (Stephens, pictured at right in a first look at the drama), a 40-something Russian Jewish émigré, inventor and designer of bespoke hearing aids, whose clients include former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. The drama follows Samuel and his family, wife Miriam and children Hannah and Sasha, as he is approached by MI5 to demonstrate his work.
It is not his inventions the operatives require, however. Instead Samuel is tasked with the secret mission of obtaining information about his charming, newly acquired friends Kathleen (Hawes, pictured below left) and her husband Richard Shaw MP (Roache) through whom Samuel also meets the impressive Lord Arthur Wallington (Spall). Writer-director Poliakoff’s Russian-born father was a naturalized British electronics engineer, inventor and businessman.
Rounding out cast are Lily Sacofsky (Bancroft) as Samuel’s daughter Hannah, Lucy Cohu (Ripper Street) as his wife Miriam, Gary Beadle (Grantchester) as his right-hand man Courtney, Mark Bonnar (Line of Duty) as Field, Ronald Pickup (The Crown) as Walter and Rose Ayling-Ellis (Reverberations) as Hannah’s friend Esther. Further casting includes Greg Austin, Jordan Coulson, Matthew James Thomas and Fode Simbo.
Said executive producer Flint, a longtime collaborator with Poliakoff on productions such as Close to the Enemy, Shooting the Past and Perfect Strangers: “This piece set in 1958 is hinged at the pivotal point of world history where the past and future are pulling in equal strength and human beings, young and old have little control over the eventual outcome.”
Stephens added: “It’s great to be working with Stephen Poliakoff again after such a long time. I loved working with him on Perfect Strangers; he’s such a unique and original voice in British television. It’s also good to be filming something back home in the UK for the BBC. It’s been a while.” Said Hawes: “I have wanted to work with Stephen for years, so I’m delighted to be part of such a wonderful cast, and can’t wait to spend the summer with them all.”
It is the late 1960s, homosexuality has only just been decriminalised and Jeremy Thorpe, the leader of the Liberal party and the youngest leader of any British political party in a hundred years, has a secret he’s desperate to hide. As long as his ex-lover Norman Scott is around, Thorpe’s brilliant career is at risk. Thorpe schemes and deceives – until he can see only one way to silence Scott for good. The trial of Jeremy Thorpe changed society forever, illuminating the darkest secrets of the Establishment. The Thorpe affair revealed such breath-taking deceit and corruption that, at the time, hardly anyone dared believe it could be true.
3 Episodes BBC One
A man (Geoffrey Rush) wanders through a heavy rainstorm finding his way into a restaurant. The restaurant’s employees try to determine if he needs help. Despite his manic mode of speech being difficult to understand, Sylvia learns that his name is David Helfgott and that he is staying at a local hotel. She returns him to the hotel, and despite his attempts to engage her with his musical knowledge and ownership of various musical scores, she leaves.
As a child, David (played by Alex Rafalowicz) is growing up in suburban Adelaide, South Australia and competing in a local music competition. Helfgott has been taught to play by his father, Peter (played by Armin Mueller-Stahl), a man obsessed with winning who has no tolerance for failure or disobedience. David is noticed by Mr. Rosen, a local pianist who, after an initial conflict with Peter, takes over David’s musical instruction.
As a teen, David (played by Noah Taylor) wins the state musical championship and is invited to study in America. Although plans are made to raise money to send David and his family is initially supportive, Peter eventually forbids David to leave and abuses him, thinking David leaving would destroy the family. Crushed, David continues to study and befriends local novelist and co-founder of the Communist Party of Australia, Katharine Susannah Prichard (Googie Withers). David’s talent grows until he is offered a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London. David’s father again forbids him to go, but with the encouragement of Katharine, David leaves. In London, David enters a Concerto competition, choosing to play Rachmaninoff’s enormously demanding 3rd Concerto, a piece he had attempted to learn as a young child to make his father proud. As David practices, he increasingly becomes manic in his behavior. David wins the competition, but suffers a mental breakdown and is admitted to a psychiatric hospital, where he receives electric shock therapy.
David recovers to the point where he is able to return to Australia, but is still rejected by his father. David relapses and is readmitted to a mental institution as a young man. Years later, a volunteer at the institution recognizes David and knows of his musical talent. She takes him home but discovers that he is difficult to control, unintentionally destructive, and needs more care than she can offer. She leaves him at the hotel from earlier in the film. David has difficulty adjusting to life in broader society again, and often leaves the hotel to stimulate his interests. David wanders to the nearby restaurant.
The next day David returns to the restaurant, and the patrons are astounded by his ability to play the piano. One of the owners befriends David and looks after him. In return David plays at the restaurant. Through the owner David is introduced to Gillian (Lynn Redgrave). David and Gillian fall in love and marry. With Gillian’s help and support, David is able to come to terms with his father’s death and to stage a well-received comeback concert, presaging his return to professional music.
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Although the language is in English and German, this TV film never made it to the USA. Fortunately, I was able to view it and thought this a lost film of great romance. One of John Light’s best performances, in my book. You can feel the real intensity of the bombs dropping on Dresden, as you a person caught on the ground, seeking shelter.
Dresden (2006) focuses on an extraordinary historic event in connection with a tragic love story of a woman between two men. In January 1945, the young nurse Anna Mauth, working at a hospital in Dresden, becomes engaged to senior physician Benjamin Wenninger. At the same time, an English Lancaster bomber is shot down. The pilot Robert Newman, the only survivor, manages to reach the city severely injured and hides in the hospital’s cellar. Anna discovers him incidentally thinking he is a German deserter, but finally decides to help Robert
The Post is a 2017 American political thriller film directed and produced by Steven Spielberg from a screenplay written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer. Set in the early 1970s, the film stars Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Carrie Coon, and Matthew Rhys. The Post depicts the journalists from The Washington Post and The New York Times who published the Pentagon Papers regarding the involvement of the United States government during the Vietnam War.
The Post received highly positive reviews, with specific praise for the performances of Streep, Hanks and Odenkirk, and critics noting the film’s comparisons of the administrations of Richard Nixon and Donald Trump. It was chosen by the National Board of Review as the best film of 2017, and was named as one of the top 10 films of the year by Time and the American Film Institute.] At the 75th Golden Globe Awards, the film received six nominations: Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Actress – Drama for Streep, Best Actor – Drama for Hanks, Best Screenplay and Best Original Score