Continuing the BBC’s long running tradition of mounting a spooky ghost story for Christmas The Turn of the Screw is an adaptation of Henry James’ much loved novel. Updating the action to the 1920’s the story begins when young governess Ann is given a position at Bly, a large country house, caring after two children – Miles and Flora.
All is very lovely and perfect at first until Ann begins to be affected by ghostly visions, mostly of a man and a woman whom she does not know. As Ann investigates she learns that the previous nanny Miss Jessel and her paramour, Peter Quint, were both found dead in strange circumstance.
Ann soon develops an unhealthy obsession about the figures and begins to believe that they are a malevolent force actually targeting Miles and Flora. It becomes clear to her that only she can rid Bly of the couple – no matter whatever the personal.
The Turn of the Screw is amongst the most famous of ghost stories and has been adapted numerous times before (most notably in the early 1960’s with Deborah Kerr in the lead and as a US TV version in 1974) but updating the action to just post world war one is a very clever move allowing for nuances and thoughts of the mass grief that affected the nation after the end of the hostilities and allowing you to see just how Ann could be so enveloped by her obsession.
UK / BBC One / 1×90 minute episode / Broadcast Wednesday 30 December 2009 @ 9.00pm
Writer: Sandy Welch / Novel: Henry James / Producer: Colin Wratten / Director: Tim Fywell
MICHELLE DOCKERY as Ann
SUE JOHNSTON as Mrs Grose
KATIE LIGHTFOOT as Jessel
EDWARD MacLIAM as Peter Quint
DAN STEVENS as Dr Fisher
NICOLA WALKER as Carla
EVA SAYER as Flora
JOSEF LINDSAY as Miles
MARK UMBERS as Master
CORIN REDGRAVE as Professor
WENDY ALBISTON as Baines
SARAH BUCKLAND as Diane
NELLIE BURROUGHES as Abused Maid
HONOR CARGILL-MARTIN as Young Ann
CAMERON STEWART as Police Inspector