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Tipping the Velvet 

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The story of Nan Astley who falls in love with three different women on her journey to stardom and happiness in 1887 Victorian England.
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1  
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 ...  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 ...  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 »

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

Author Sarah Waters was an extra in the series. 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 »

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 »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

Exquisite and gorgeous!
7 September 2004 | by findmespaceSee all my reviews

I am getting obsessed by it, playing the DVD over and over. And it is not because of the lesbian love story, nor because of the physical relationship neither. It's about the tenderness and care with which the whole thing is done. You obviously can notice that in the script itself, even in the rawer moments there's certain hope. But also in the music (the melodies are so sweet), the photography (all this wine like and golden tones for indoor scenes), the so fine decoration and set design (theatres and back stages), those little sounds added (hoses running, opera voices ..), those visual metaphors (burning fondue for Kitty's jealousy, empty oyster shells swirling in the waves as Nan meets life ..) …etc..

To me the most beautiful concept is the protagonist personal and sentimental growth, how she becomes an adult by finding love and life. About this, an outstanding detail is Nan's expression and tone of voice. There's one scene in first episode: Kitty and Nan are in Nan's room at Nan's parents, Nan takes the rose Kitty gave to her in the theatre from a drawer and says: 'Remember when you gave me this?' .. The tone in which the sentence is said is so wonderful, it express so much thrill, admiration, delight and most of all innocence. This is what the first episode is about, Nan and her innocence and childhood lost… something left in the sea waves of her home town shore where she was an oyster. But in the second and third episodes she looses this purity in her voice, as she's becoming an adult in all senses. She sounds stronger and more secure... the oyster opens.

This leads me to talk about Rachael's awesome work, all these details are not only shown in her voice but in her acting. And what is more, she not only acts great all the way long but also she sings lovely! The rest of the actresses are wonderful too .. Anna Chancellor's Diana still scares me ;) What to say about magnetic Kitty (whoah Keeley!) and also Jhodi May builds a so very nice good home-loving girl. The actors are quite good too, including baby Cyril ;-)

Another good feature to point out is the rhythm of the episodes development. We can see Kitty and Nan's debut on stage at the same time that all their previous rehearsals, and also Nan's cooking and cleaning at Flo's at the same time that she recovers emotionally from wandering the streets. All this action together prevents the episodes from slow down and from loosing the attention.

But of course this story is a tale, in which the protagonist suffers but at the end wins, there is no point in looking for resemblances with real life as life is much more complicated than a tale. She even triumphs at speaking in the socialist rally saving Flo's brother from stage fright. And I think choosing one girl instead of the other pretended to be a happy end … personally I would definitively have chosen the other, no doubt at all ;-D

I've found a soundtrack at amazon.co.uk but it doesn't include the songs the girls sing at stage .. anyone know where to find them?

Thanks for reading


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