Man In An Orange Shirt is the flagship drama in the BBC’s Gay Britannia season, a collection of programmes to mark the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act.
In his screenwriting debut, bestselling British novelist Patrick Gale tells two love stories, 60 years apart – stories linked by family and a painting, with a secret that echoes down the generations.
Featuring a cast including the Oscar-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave, Man in an Orange Shirt charts the challenges and huge changes to gay lives from the Second World War to the present day.
Patrick Gale, speaking of the genesis of the production: “When my mother was pregnant with me and preparing for us to move – from Camp Hill Prison on the Isle of Wight to Wandsworth, where my father was to become governor – she found a stash of personal letters hidden in his desk. At first she was amused, assuming they were from an old girlfriend he’d never mentioned, then horrified, as she realised they were from an old school and university friend who had been his best man.
In real life she destroyed the letters, terrified he’d be arrested for what was then an imprisonable offence but also disgusted because, in her ignorance, she assumed this meant he was a paedophile. In true buttoned-up English fashion, she never let him know what she had discovered.
What I’ve done in Man In An Orange Shirt is to take that scene of discovery and wind backwards, imagining the two men’s impossible love for each other being shipwrecked on the demands of respectability and the law. And then I’ve wound forwards from it, imagining what would have happened if my mother had instead confronted my father with the discovery. Readers of my novels will know I’m a psychotherapist manqué, fascinated by the effects of secrets and lies within a family.”
Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Michael Berryman
James McArdle as Thomas March
Joanna Vanderham as Flora Talbot
Vanessa Redgrave as Flora (Present day)
Adrian Schiller as Lucien
Laura Carmichael as Daphne Talbot
Frances de la Tour as Mrs March
Julian Morris as Adam
David Gyasi as Steve
Julian Sands as Caspar
Angel Coulby as Claudie
key behind the scenes crew
Diederick Santer as Executive Producer
Lucy Richer as Executive Producer
Patrick Gale as Writer
Lisa Osborne as Producer
Michael Samuels as Director
Currently in production
2×60 minute episodes
network and production companies
BBC Two – Kudos