Screen One (1985–2002)
4 user 1 critic

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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Last film role of Peggy Ashcroft. See more »


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Written by Melvin Endsley
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Last Performance of Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Enjoyable Geraldine James!
18 October 2002 | by See all my reviews

This was Peggy Ashcroft's last performance as LIllian Huckle, a woman who was institutionalized because she was considered to wild and rambunctious for 1920's English standards. Basically she was boy crazy and non-conforming.

She would stay in the institution her entire life, then be released and sent to her nephew to live with. Now an old woman who had never lived, she finds all she can do is sit and stare.

Whether it was intended or not, the movie shifts all focus on Ashcroft to Geraldine James, who plays Harriet Ambrose, the wife of the nephew. She is pregnant and visibly showing. She feels unappreciated by her husband and her precocious firstborn son.

The moment we realize that something is amiss is when this expectant mother is balancing on a chair throwing things out of the loft at the top of the stairs. Lillian, sitting at the bottom of the stairs, looks in disbelief as do we.

From there, Harriet takes herself and Lillian on the lam. Nothing is stopping Harriet, not her husband, her pregnancy or Lillian. She wrecks the car, catches her dress in the door and rips it, then hitchhikes even further.

Credit cards are hurled into the hotel's heating system. Harriet gorges on sliced beef and ham at the party that night. Finally, she confides in the slowly re-appearing LIllian that she is unhappy with her life and wants to live. She is rushed to the hospital with the pregnancy and Lillian, now deciding she has emerged once more, barricades the hospital door to keep Harriet's husband and the doctors away from her new ally.

Very well done program, especially check out the early scene when Harriet goes grocery shopping with Lillian and Lillian, not knowing what to do, buys a dozen frozen ducks. Guess what the special was at the next party the Ambrose's had?

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