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Room at the Top 

An adaption of John Braine's novel.




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Series cast summary:
Matthew McNulty ...  Joe Lampton 2 episodes, 2012
Maxine Peake ...  Alice Aisgill 2 episodes, 2012
Jenna Coleman ...  Susan Brown 2 episodes, 2012
Tom Brooke ...  Charles 2 episodes, 2012
Julia Ford ...  Mrs. Thompson 2 episodes, 2012
Peter Wight ...  Mr. Hoylake 2 episodes, 2012
Kevin Doyle ...  Mr. Thompson 2 episodes, 2012
Lauren Crace ...  Joan 2 episodes, 2012
Kate O'Flynn ...  Beryl 2 episodes, 2012
Zoe Telford ...  Eva Storr 2 episodes, 2012
Paul Tomblin Paul Tomblin ...  Ray 2 episodes, 2012
Theo James ...  Jack Wales 2 episodes, 2012
Paul Hilton Paul Hilton ...  Bob Storr 2 episodes, 2012
Kevin McNally ...  Mr. Brown 2 episodes, 2012


An adaption of John Braine's novel.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance







Release Date:

26 September 2012 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Room at the Top See more »

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Did You Know?


Transmission was scheduled for 7 and 14 April 2011, but the programme was withdrawn with a few days' notice, despite extensive publicity of trailers and articles in listings magazines, because of a copyright claim by a third party that they had signed an exclusive option on the novel. The copyright issue was then resolved in May 2012 and the films scheduled for transmission on BBC4 in late September 2012. See more »


Remake of Room at the Top (1959) See more »

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User Reviews

Confining room
12 February 2013 | by LejinkSee all my reviews

This two part dramatisation of John Braine's novel about a working class boy on the make lacked subtlety in parts but on the whole was well staged and played by a good cast. Set in a fictional town "up north", Matthew McNulty plays a brainy lad, Joe Lampton, who finds a place at an accountancy firm in the big town in immediately post-war Britain and finds his rugged good looks and down-to-earth manner marking him out for career advancement, as well it seems as with half the womenfolk in the town.

Before long he's fallen hard for an estranged middle-aged married woman he meets at amateur dramatics of all things but finds himself in romantic conflict as the pretty young daughter of a big boss tilts her hat at him. She offers him escape, youth and position, while all the older woman can offer him is her devotion until he's forced to make a choice between the two, which as tragic consequences for one side of the triangle.

The programme pulls no punches in its use of extremely strong language and depiction of the frequent sex-scenes, but both I felt were justified. What I didn't get was the sense that Worley was a big town in relation to Finton, his childhood home, to which Lampton returns for a nostalgic visit just before the end. There are very few external location shots to give the piece a sense of place, you'd only know you're north of Watford by the accents.

The lead roles are mostly played authentically and with conviction. McNulty is fine in the lead role and Maxine Peake too, as Alice, the older woman he picks up and falls for only to discard with tragic consequences when he follows his head and not his heart. Jenna Louise Coleman, however never quite convinces you she's grown out of her little-girl persona, pretty as she is.

The dialogue occasionally suggests too obviously it came from a book but the production doesn't pretend to be anything more than a representation of the book but for a gritty insight into the lives and motives of the postwar generation and particularly returning soldiers like Lampton, it still has a limited relevance today.

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