7.9/10
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45 user 4 critic

Tipping the Velvet 

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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2,838 ( 104)

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2002  
5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Rachael Stirling ...  Nan Astley 3 episodes, 2002
Keeley Hawes ...  Kitty Butler 3 episodes, 2002
Anna Chancellor ...  Diana Lethaby 2 episodes, 2002
Jodhi May ...  Florence Banner 2 episodes, 2002
Alexei Sayle ...  Charles Frobisher 2 episodes, 2002
John Bowe ...  Walter Bliss 2 episodes, 2002
Sally Hawkins ...  Zena Blake 2 episodes, 2002
Di Botcher ...  Woman with Cigar 2 episodes, 2002
Carl Chase Carl Chase ...  Corder 2 episodes, 2002
Janet Henfrey Janet Henfrey ...  Mrs. Jex 2 episodes, 2002
Daniel Mays ...  Jimmy Burns 2 episodes, 2002
Bernice Stegers ...  Mrs. Denby 2 episodes, 2002
Sara Stockbridge Sara Stockbridge ...  Dickie 2 episodes, 2002
Susie Valerio Susie Valerio ...  Singer 2 episodes, 2002
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Storyline

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

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

BBCi [UK]

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 October 2002 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Tipping the Velvet See more »

Filming Locations:

Whitstable, Kent, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Sally Head Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(3 parts)

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an interview, Keeley Hawes said that she and Rachael Stirling got drunk before shooting the love scenes, but also said kissing a woman was not much different than kissing a man. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Florence Banner: [after overhearing a prostitute in the women's bar talk about an easy and enjoyable job, Florence looks truly puzzled] Tipping the velvet? Why what ever can THAT be?
Nancy Nan Astley: [rather surprised at the question] You don't know?
Florence Banner: [Smiling] Well it sounds like something to do with dress making or millinary, but it can't be. No one would pay to watch that.
Nancy Nan Astley: [Laughing] No. It isn't.
Florence Banner: Well what then?
Florence Banner: [Nan has showed Florence the tip of her tongue, then pointedly nodded and looked at Florence's lap] Oh!
[...]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Done it again, Mr. Davies? Well done, sir!
29 October 2002 | by BigYellowBiohazardSee all my reviews

Tipping the Velvet has just three weeks ago been released in the UK and already I watch as countless letters flood to the national papers and TV guides, claiming that it possesses a thin plot, weak performances and an even weaker script.

You find me incensed. This is heresy.

I would really like to dispel all doubt by first congratulating Andrew Davies on enabling Geoffrey Sax to create this wonderful dramatization of Sarah Waters' novel by cushioning him with such a fantastic script. Kudos. But I fear I must now change tack.

I saw one of the premiere TV guides here in the UK (which shall remain nameless) relentlessly describing Tipping the Velvet as a "lesbian love story". If they are, and I assume they are, trying to promote interest in the film, then this is completely the wrong way to go about it (aside from the phrase being a disappointingly inaccurate description). By saying such a thing, they are either a) turning away those who would instinctively be repelled by "that" subject matter or b) attracting a class of people who will only watch to see some "serious girl-on-girl action". Buy a video! Through this display of serious inconsideration, this and other magazines are cheapening what is a brilliant adaptation of one of recent literature's greatest works. Tipping the Velvet is a story of love, of passion, of moving on, of loss, and of heartbreak. It's not a lesbian love story. No siree.

The end result is a stylish affair, with excellent performances all round (particularly from Stirling, Hawes, Chancellor and May). Direction-wise, it's intoxicating and immersive - sometimes, fast-paced, sometimes not - but it never ceases to be anything less than compelling. As a whole, it's polished and well delivered, the sex is undertaken with tenderness and delicacy - and although many will not class it as a real "film", it will remain among my favourites for some time to come.


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