In 1952 ambitious industrialist Charles Freeman whisks naive young Mary off her feet and marries her. They move into the big house overlooking the town where Charles' engineering factory dominates the landscape and, in quick succession, three sons (Simon, James and Robert) and a daughter (Alice) are born. Exhausted by motherhood and disillusioned with marriage to a man whose greatest romantic passion is reserved for his factory, sensitive wayward Mary seeks solace in poetry and drink. The marriage stumbles, the children swing between the heady sunshine of joy and the pain of neglect. Within a few years the family is fractured by the tragedy of Mary's suicide and each of the siblings sets out to find their place in a world stained by events from their childhood. The oldest son, Simon, initially strives to please and imitate his father by going into the family business. James is trapped by his mother's favor! Written by
This was an almost perfect work - the writing and the acting but also the camera work, the production design and the directing. It is a pity that the BBC didn't promote it more vigorously. They must bring it back soon and make sure a much wider audience see it. You simply don't get TV of this quality any more. It sets a yardstick by which all other TV drama will be judged for the next few years.
It is extraordinary that all those concerned suddenly appeared - and produced this beacon in a sea of TV dross. The only previous credit I recognised was the Cameraman for the hugely underrated film "Ratcatcher" - which I also recommend.
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