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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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3,411 ( 18)

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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 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 »

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

As Nan Astley explains to Florence Banner in the final episode, "Tipping the Velvet" was a Victorian euphemism for cunnilingus. 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

 
Surprising
18 October 2002 | by AltimaSee all my reviews

It is surprising that a production like this gets made these days, especially for television. Considering the strong sexual themes and explicit lovemaking scenes, not to mention lesbianism, this has been given superb treatment and direction.

The sets and costumes are flawless, the direction is stylish and the characters are likeable. There is a fair amount of humor but it has surprisingly dark interludes. The protagonist is really a tragic figure, but not devoid of happiness. Also, this production avoids the mistake most films/shows make when dealing with homosexuality/lesbianism. The characters are very human. It seems that to allow people to be comfortable with watching gays and lesbians on TV and movies most shows fill it full of cliches and make the characters obsessed with being gay. Not so with this. In Tipping the Velvet, the protagonist is hardly aware of what being lesbian means!

The BBC have made some wonderful productions in the past, and this adventurous period piece only confirms their standard of excellence on all fronts.


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