Epic drama Any Human Heart tells the life story of elderly 80-something Logan Gonzago Mountstuart who, as the four parter begins, has just suffered an heart attack, as he recoveries and attempts to put his life in order he takes a look back through his diaries which cues a flashback to the 1920’s where Logan is at university with best friends Ben Leeping and Peter Scabius. Logan is involved with political undergrad Land Fothergill but finds himself embroiled in an affair with Peter’s girlfriend Tess.
As time goes on Logan is determined to make his career as a writer and moves to Paris to further his education, following a breakthrough with his first novel – The Girl Factory – Logan begins to make a name for himself and marries socialite Lady Lottie Cassell. He spends much of the 1930’s in Portugal where he meets the love of his life Freya Deverall, a journalist who is working for the BBC. They very quickly feel in sync but as world war two breaks out he needs to choose between his wife or Freya.
As Logan enters middle age he discovers the thrill and heartache of true love and the birth of his first child and enjoys something of a scandalous reputaion on the New York art scene during the 1950s and 1960s. The elderly Logan finds that London in the 1970’s and 1980’s is a depressing place to be but is revitalised by the 1990’s which sees him living in rural France.
Throughout his life it is Logan‟s personal relationships which define him; through numerous flirtations and affairs to finding true love. Logan also has some Zelig like encounters with prominent names from history including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Ernest Hemingway and Ian Fleming. Boyd’s truly epic vision charts an entire existence and in doing so reveals that all our lives are ultimately random, defined by luck and seemingly inconsequential choices. As Logan himself says; “I am all of these different people. All these different people are me.”
Any Human Heart is completely mesmerising, similar in scope and feel to Anthony Powells A Dance To The Music of Time series of novels. Fabulous of cast and completely involving. Logan himself is played by three different actors across the course of his life, all very different in looks but all superb. Sam Claflin is the young Logan, Matthew Macfadyen plays him in middle age and the always fabulous Jim Broadbent takes him into old age.
UK / Channel 4 – Carnival Films / 4×105 minute episodes / Broadcast Sunday 21 November – 12 December 2010
Writer: William Boyd from his novel of the same name / Executive Producer: Sally Woodward Gentle / Producers: Lynn Horsford, Lee Morris / Director: Michael Samuels
JIM BROADBENT as Logan Mountstuart (Older)
MATTHEW MACFADYEN as Logan Mountstuart (Middle)
SAM CLAFLIN as Logan Mountstuart (Young)
HAYLEY ATWELL as Freya Deverell
KIM CATTRALL as Gloria Scabius Kim Cattrall
GILLIAN ANDERSON as Duchess of Windsor
TOM HOLLANDER as Duke of Windsor
ED STOPPARD as Ben Leeping (Older)
JAMES MUSGRAVE as Ben Leeping (Young)
SAMUEL WEST as Peter Scabius (Older)
FREDDIE FOX as Peter Scabius (Young)
HOLLIDAY GRANGER as Tess Scabius
EMERALD FENNELL as Lottie Cassell
CHARITY WAKEFIELD as Land Fothergill
RICHARD SCHIFF as Dr Byrne
NATASHA LITTLE as Allanah Mountstuart
HUGH SKINNER as Lionel Mountstuart
LYDIA WILSON as Monday
VALERIE KAPRISKY as Gabrielle Dupetit
TOBIAS MENZIES as Ian Fleming
JULIAN RHIND-TUTT as John Vivian
STEPHANE DAUSSE as Cyprien Dieudonne
CONOR NEALON as Logan Mountstuart (4 years)
FLAMINIA CINQUE as Mrs Mountstuart
KEN BONES as Mr Mountstuart
JULIAN OVENDEN as Ernest Hemingway