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Tipping the Velvet (2002)

TV Mini-Series  |   |  Drama, Romance
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Set in the 1890's, tells the lesbian love affair between male impersonator music hall star Kitty Butler and Nan Astley.

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Series cast summary:
 Nan Astley (3 episodes, 2002)
 Kitty Butler (3 episodes, 2002)
 Diana Lethaby (2 episodes, 2002)
 Florence Banner (2 episodes, 2002)
 Charles Frobisher (2 episodes, 2002)
John Bowe ...
 Walter Bliss (2 episodes, 2002)
 Zena Blake (2 episodes, 2002)
 Woman with Cigar (2 episodes, 2002)
Carl Chase ...
 Corder (2 episodes, 2002)
Janet Henfrey ...
 Mrs. Jex (2 episodes, 2002)
 Jimmy Burns (2 episodes, 2002)
 Mrs. Denby (2 episodes, 2002)
Sara Stockbridge ...
 Dickie (2 episodes, 2002)
 Singer (2 episodes, 2002)


Dramatised from Sarah Waters' acclaimed debut novel, "Tipping the Velvet" tells the story of Nancy Astley (Rachael Stirling), a young girl who works as cook and waitress in her Father's seaside restaurant - that is until she witnesses the extraordinary performance of a new-to-town male impersonator - Kitty Butler (Keeley Hawes) - and begins to undergo a complete life transformation. Suddenly whipped up - and quickly flung down - by her love affair with Kitty, she experiences both euphoria and deep disillusion as she embarks on a seven-year journey of self-discovery - finally realizing that a life of sensation just isn't enough. Written by Kanji

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

9 October 2002 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Besant el vellut  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


(3 parts)

Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


Author Sarah Waters was an extra in the film. She was a member of the audience to one of the shows. On the DVD she can be seen as such on the menu screen, and in the beginning of the movie when the credit "Based on the novel by Sarah Waters" is shown. See more »


The roses Kitty gives out in her act are obviously artificial. But later when Nan shows Kitty she kept the rose she received from her, the rose is wilted. See more »


Kitty Butler: Like a mermaid.
See more »


Referenced in 100 Greatest Sexy Moments (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

More Than Gay
24 January 2005 | by (St. Louis, Missouri) – See all my reviews

Labeling this film a "lesbian love story" is about as accurate as calling Pride & Prejudice a "straight love story." There's just so much more to it than that.

Yes, the main character is a lesbian, but her story is classic bildungsroman, a journey from childhood to adulthood, from sexual innocence into maturity, from personal blindness to self- discovery. There is a stylistic element of camp to the film's direction, but it is not a hindrance; rather it serves to underscore the staged and dramatic parts of the main character's life.

Those who know Anna Chancellor from the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice will certainly be amazed with her here. Rachael Stirling is stellar as the main character Nan, and Keeley Hawes is all wide-eyed goodness as her lover Kitty Butler. Chancellor might have the stand out role, that is aside from Sally Hawkins who plays Zena Butler. This film is not for the faint of heart, but it's not a piece of pro-gay advertising either. It's a real story, with real comedy and drama, an engaging story with compelling characters, and well worth watching.

63 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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