A reluctant mother, young Ruth Clee's post natal vulnerability and failure to bond with her baby is exploited by Elizabeth, her manipulative mother-in-law in a battle to seize control of the child.
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Stars: Francesca Annis, Catherine Feller, Peggy Ann Wood
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Cast

Series cast summary:
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 Elizabeth (2 episodes, 2010)
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 Doctor McFadden (2 episodes, 2010)
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 Patrick (2 episodes, 2010)
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 Ruth (2 episodes, 2010)
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 David (2 episodes, 2010)
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 Doctor Fairley (2 episodes, 2010)
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 Ruth's Father (2 episodes, 2010)
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 Frederick (2 episodes, 2010)
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Storyline

Ep 1 Young Ruth Clee's independent city life is turned upside down when her in-laws buy a long coveted country cottage on their doorstep for their son and daughter-in-law. Isolated and remote, it's the exact opposite of everything Ruth has planned for the future but the pressure to move is irresistible when she unexpectedly falls pregnant and her husband Patrick, ever in thrall to his mother, is determined to move. After the difficult birth of her son Thomas by caesarean section, Ruth, struggling to bond with her demanding and fractious child is driven to the point of exhaustion through lack of sleep. However, her subtly manipulative mother-in-law Elizabeth, is always on hand to ease tensions, and seizes every opportunity to remove the child to the sanctuary of her own house. Patrick's work leaves him little time to lend a hand and as Ruth bears the brunt of Thomas's demands matters come to a sudden head when baby Thomas suffers a cigarette burn. Ruth stands accused and Ruth is ... Written by Jeremy Gwilt

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1 November 2010 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Anyák és fiúk  »

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Featured in The Wright Stuff: Episode #14.65 (2010) See more »

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Room for improvement
13 April 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This two-part TV production was going along quite well, I thought, heading for an anticipated showdown between Francesca Annis's mother-in-law from hell and her would-be victim Lucy Griffith and also one really good twist surely just around the corner waiting to finish it off neatly. Instead, we get a blink-and-you-miss-it denouement with Annis at last getting her just desserts and Griffith turning the tables on her even after the wicked witch is dead, but it was an ending without surprise or tension and for me let down what had been reasonably effectively built up till then.

Not that there weren't other faults too, for example, Annis's husband Tim Pigot-Smith's character is too ambiguous. In episode 1 you're convinced he's in cahoots with his wife's nefarious and frankly unfathomable wish to appropriate Griffith's child for herself but in the second show, he's revealed to be innocent and in fact exposes, even if unwittingly, some of Annis's devious plans. There's also a male friend of Griffith who you think is going to play a bigger part than he does and there's also an obscure red-herring too in the references to Annis's other daughter, who now lives aboard and obviously has a testy relationship with her mother, presumably because she wasn't a boy.

There were no genuinely scary moments, the only fairly mundane attempt being Annis's silly dressing up as Griffith's late mother, in full 60's hippy gear, to supposedly convince her victim she's lost her mind, but it maintained a decent head of steam up until that anti-climactic finish which let it down.

The acting by the four leads is all good and a chilly if not chilling atmosphere is pretty well conveyed from the start. Again I felt a bit more menace could have been conveyed in the sets for the houses themselves especially given the series title, after all.


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