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Room at the Top (BBC-4 2012, Matthew McNulty, Jenna Coleman)

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Two part period drama Room At The Top, based on John Braine’s bestseller of the 1950’s follows working class Joe Lampton who moves to the well off mill town of Warley determined to make something of his life and sleep with as many women as possible. He quickly makes his way in Warley society and plans to marry Susan Brown who just happens to be from the richest family in Warley but then he falls for the older and married Alice Aisgill….

Lampton is one of the all time great characters, this BBC two parter stays close to the original material although whether it can outshine the superb Laurence Harvey/Simone Signoret version is the question. The drama was due to be screened at the beginning of April but a rights issue over the original novel meant the BBC had to shelve it for over a year.

Lampton remained a favourite character of Braine’s who continued to write about him in Life At The Top and in the early seventies there was a superb ITV series called Man At The Top starring the fab Kenneth Haigh which took Lampton to London. This series was followed by a big screen version too.

production details
UK | BBC Four

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RUNNING TIME: 60 minutes | NUMBER OF EPISODES: 2 | AIRDATE: Was due to be screened 7-14 April 2011 but a rights issue forced the BBC to postpone broadcast until 26-27 September 2012

WRITER: Amanda Coe | NOVEL: John Braine | PRODUCERS: Paul Frift, Aisling Walsh

cast
MATTHEW McNULTY as Joe Lampton
MAXINE PEAKE as Alice Aisgill
JENNA-LOUISE COLEMAN as Susan Brown
KEVIN R. McNALLY as Mr Brown
PETER WIGHT as Mr Hoylake
JULIA FORD as Mrs Thompson
KEVIN DOYLE as Mr Thompson
TOM BROOKE as Charles
THEO JAMES as Jack Wales
ZOE TELFORD as Eva Storr
PAUL HILTON as Bob Storr
LAUREN CRACE as Joan
KATE O’FLYNN as Beryl
EITHNE BROWN as Esther
DANIEL FLYNN as George Aisgill
KERRIE HAYES as Marla
PAUL TOMBLIN as Ray
BEATRICE COMINS as Mrs Brown

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Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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