Casting Unveiled on Room At The Top (22/12/2010)

Casting has been announced on the highly anticipated drama Room At The Top, which completed filming (pictured here in Bradford) in the region this week. The two 60 minute films, adapted from John Braine’s post-war literary classic, are due for transmission on BBC Four in Spring 2011. Screen Yorkshire worked with Great Meadow Productions to crew up for the four week shoot and source locations across Bradford, Leeds and Halifax.

Amanda Coe (Margot, Doctor Who) has adapted the classic, one of the great British novels of the 20th Century, into a new two-part drama for a contemporary audience starring Matthew Mcnulty (Control, Lark Rise to Candleford) as protagonist and everyman figure of the time, Joe Lampton and Maxine Peake (The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, Red Riding) as Alice Aisgill with whom Joe embarks on a highly charged, clandestine sexual affair.  

The first screen version since the controversial Oscar-winning film in 1959, Room At The Top is an iconic story based in post-war Yorkshire that centres on Joe, a working class man with great ambition.  He has the potential and keen determination to achieve his dreams but when he sets plans in motion to achieve them, he soon realises that the road to the top is rockier than it first looked.  

In his quest for social promotion he meets and courts the beautiful daughter of a rich local businessman, Susan Brown, played by Jenna Louise Coleman (Waterloo Road, Emmerdale) who can help him advance his social prospects.  However he also meets, and falls passionately in love with, an unhappily married, older woman, Alice; a startlingly forward and sexual woman with whom Joe starts a risqué affair that not only threatens his career but his social standing and reputation.  Despite his single-minded ambition, Joe finds he can’t choose between the two women as he struggles against his own self-destructive will and an inevitable outcome that has tragedy written all over it.  He wants to rise above his rank and station and improve himself, whatever the cost. 

Other cast in this compelling tragic romance include Kevin R Mcnally (Pirates of The Caribbean, Margaret), Peter Wight (Another Year, Monday Monday), Theo James (Downton Abbey, A Passionate Woman), Zoe Telford (Sherlock, Collision) and Lauren Crace (Sherlock, EastEnders).

Bethan Jones, executive producer for BBC Wales says: “I'm thrilled that Amanda Coe's adaptation of the much loved classic novel Room at the Top will be a centrepiece of next year's Love and Sex in 20th Century Literature season on BBC Four.”

Great Meadow Productions’ executive producer Robert Cooper says:
"We are delighted that Matthew McNulty and Maxine Peake are starring in Amanda Coe's bold adaptation of this sexually charged, highly emotional and tragic love story.”

Chris Hordley, Production Liaison Manager at Screen Yorkshire, says: ‘’We are very excited to be working with Great Meadow Productions and BBC 4 to bring this iconic literary classic, which has its roots firmly steeped in the region, to the screen. This year we’ve seen an increasing number of producers recognise the seductive combination of diverse locations and experienced crew that Yorkshire has to offer and as such, viewers can look forward to seeing a fantastic range of television drama filmed here on their screens in 2011.’’

Great Meadow Productions’ other recent credits include When Harvey Met Bob and the award-winning Margaret for BBC Two, Margaret Thatcher – The Long Walk To Finchley for BBC Four, Bradford Riots for Channel 4, and the hugely popular series Messiah for BBC One.

Room At The Top is adapted by Amanda Coe, directed by Aisling Walsh (Wallander, Fingersmith) and produced by Paul Frift (Primeval, State of Play).  The executive producers are Robert Cooper, Kate Triggs and Amanda Coe for Great Meadow Productions and Bethan Jones for BBC Wales.  It was commissioned by Richard Klein, Controller, BBC Four and Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning. 


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