Screen One (1985–2002)
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She's Been Away 

Locked away in an asylum as a young girl because she was an embarrassment to her family, then forgotten, an old woman returns to what's left of her kin and to her memories.




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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Lillian Huckle
Harriet Ambrose
Hugh Ambrose
Jackson Kyle ...
Dominic Ambrose
Young Lillian
Cryss Jean Healey ...
Young Margaret
Leslie Goodall ...
Old Edward (as Lesley Goodall)
Edgar Goodall ...
Young Thomas
Barnaby Holm ...
Young Edward
Lillian's Father
Hugh Lloyd ...
Brid Brennan ...
Lillian's Nurse


A woman who has been institutionalized for 60 years for the "crime" of not conforming to the 1920s image of what a proper young woman should be (in other words, she did what she wanted and didn't care what anyone else thought about it) is finally released to the custody of her family, consisting of her grand-nephew and his family. At first she keeps a self-imposed distance from the relatives, but she soon finds herself coming around to her nephew's wife, a free spirit who is under the thumb of her cold and controlling husband. Written by

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Release Date:

1 December 1991 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Last film role of Peggy Ashcroft. See more »


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Written by Dave Dreyer, Al Jolson and Billy Rose
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User Reviews

Excellent cast in unusual BBC telefilm
25 November 2004 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

Peggy Ashcroft shines in this, I believe it was her last role before she died in 1991 from a stroke.

Her performances in anything other than stage are rare and are to be treasured.

She is utterly believable here as a woman who has been incarcerated in a mental institution for 60 years for the crime of just being a wild young woman in her time and deemed unmanageable by her family.

She and the wife (played by Geraldine James who also appeared with Peggy Ashcroft in the "Jewel in the Crown") of her grand-nephew form an uneasy alliance in the household which is controlled by both the afore-mentioned husband and their young son who gives one of the most chilling child performances ever captured on film.

How the two women escape together from the strictures of their lives forms the bulk of the story. A haunting film.

8 out of 10.

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