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Imogen’s Face (ITV 1998, Samantha Janus, Lia Williams)

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Imogen’s Face, from the pen of A Bouquet of Barbed Wire and A Sense of Guilt author Andrea Newman, examines the relationship between two sisters – one blessed, one luckless – and the men in their lives. It explores the themes of beauty and envy and the mayhem caused to people’s lives by hidden resentment, guilt and passion.

Eponymous ‘heroine’ Imogen is one of those people upon whom the gods have smiled. She has the face of an angel, dazzling charm, brains, success, a comfortable, moneyed lifestyle, a beautiful house and adoring husband, and a spontaneous, effervescent nature that draws everyone towards her.

Her sister Amanda is less fortunate. Although a few years older, she has lived in Imogen’s shadow all her life, constantly denigrated by her irascible father and cosseted, hypochondriac mother. A primary school teacher, she is trying to make a success of her relationship with new boyfriend Steve, who has moved into her south London flat, and who is the first man she has really been able to trust. Amanda and Steve decide to try for a baby, but while Imogen became pregnant effortlessly, Amanda doesn’t find it so easy.

Imogen, meanwhile, although having it all, still wants more. Four months pregnant with twins, she begins a passionate affair with Cavan, a wealthy antiques dealer and veteran of three previous marriages. She asks Amanda to help conceal her infidelity from her husband Ben by providing alibis for her meetings with her lover.

Sisterly love finds itself stretched to breaking point as Amanda, who has feelings for Ben herself, reluctantly colludes. But the breaking point arrives – explosively – when Amanda inadvertently betrays her sister’s affair to Ben.

The casting of the two sisters was crucial. Two actresses were sought who resembled each other but represented very different qualities; one extrovert, flighty and charming and the other quiet and introspective.

The choice was Lia Williams as Amanda and Samantha Janus for Imogen. The two felt an instinctive trust from the start of shooting, which turned out to be essential. ‘You need to believe at the beginning of this drama that nothing could separate these two, nothing,’ says Samantha Janus. ‘Playing scenes when we were arguing was shattering – and I almost didn’t want to do them as I didn’t want to lose our real-life relationship!’

Lia describes Imogen’s Face as portraying ‘how parents can mess up their children and how the children carry those emotions through into their adult lives, feeding them into their relationships with each other and the people they love.

‘Andrea Newman shows a real understanding of the way in which many people spend their adult life wondering why it doesn’t live up to the childhood fantasy,’ Lia says. ‘I’m sure the emotions will be instantly recognisable to many people.’

production details
UK / ITV – Yorkshire – Tyro / 3×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 2 – 16 July 1998

Writer: Andrea Newman / Music: Colin Towns / Production Design: Chris Edwards / Producer: Simon Passmore / Executive Producers: Steve Clark-Hall, Eileen Quinn / Director: David Wheatley

cast
Samantha Janus as Imogen
Lia Williams as Amanda
George Anton as Steve)
John Bowe as Cavan)
Richard Lintern as Ben
Claire Bloom as Elinor
Michael Byrne as Patrick

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Clochmerle (BBC-2 1972, Cyril Cusack, Roy Dotrice)

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Clochmerle BBC 1972

Period sitcom, based on a novel by Gabriel Chevallier that was adapted by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, that saw the French villagers of Clochmerle kick up a fuss over plans to install a new toilet.

cast
CYRIL CUSACK as Major Piechut
ROY DOTRICE as Ponosse
KENNETH GRIFFITH as Ernest Tafardel
WENDY HILLER as Justine Putet
HUGH GRIFFITH as Alexandre Bourdillat
BERNARD BRESSLAW as Nicholas the Beadle
MADELINE SMITH as Hortase Girodet
GEORGINA MOON as Rose Biraque
PETER USTINOV as Narrator

crew details
Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson
Novel: Gabriel Chevallier
Producer: Michael Mills

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC Two – Bavaria
Duration: 9×30 minute episodes
Aired From: 18 February – 14 April 1972 Fridays at 10.05pm

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Clairvoyant, The (BBC-2 1986, Roy Kinnear, Sandra Dickinson)

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BBC 2 Logo

In Roy Clarke penned sitcom The Clairvoyant used car salesman Arnold Bristow is knocked down in a car accident and suddenly finds himself with psychic powers – or so he believes. There was a pilot broadcast 27 Nov 1984.

cast
ROY KINNEAR as Arnold Bristow
SANDRA DICKINSON as Lily
HUGH LLOYD as Burma
SHAUN CURRY as Newton
GLYNIS BROOKS as Dawn
CARMEL CRYAN as Carmen

crew details
Writer: Roy Clarke
Producer and Director: Alan J.W. Bell

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC-2
Duration: 6×30 minute episodes
Aired From: Pilot – 27 November 1984 and Series – 15 May – 19 June 1986

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Christmas Princess (UP 2017, Nicole Munoz, Zak Santiago)

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Christmas Princess Nicole Munoz

Christmas Princess is the true story of Donaly Marquez who, through a childhood of neglect and abuse, achieved her dream of becoming a rose bowl princess. An inspirational story of resilience, strength and finding a family to call your own.

cast
Nicole Muñoz as Donaly Marquez
Rosa Blasi as Sara
Zak Santiago as Ignacio Marquez
Olivia Steele Falconer as Emily Marquez
Jaedon Siewert as Abraham Marquez
Lina Renna as Young Donaly
Paloma Kwiatkowski as Chloe
Ty Wood as Trent
Pendo Muema as Monique
Kalyn Miles as Maria
Kaaren de Zilva as Roberta
Garfield Wilson as Dr. Miller
Clay St. Thomas as Judge #1
Patti Allan as Judge #2
Natalie von Rotsburg as Judge #3

crew details
Director: Allan Harmon
Writer: Tracy Andreen

production details
Country: Canada
Network and Production Companies: UP
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017

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