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A Dance To The Music Of Time (Channel 4 Drama, James Purefoy)

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In the Channel 4 drama serial A Dance to the Music of Time we travel across five decades of upperclass life in Britain, from the 1920’s onwards especially for two men Nicholas Jenkins (James Purefoy) and Kenneth Widmerpool (Simon Russell Beale). Based on the mammoth collection of twelve novels by Anthony Powell this serial could never hope to match up to the brilliance of the novels but was still a superb piece of work,.

Dennis Potter had once been commissioned to write a serial around A Dance to the Music of Time novels but could not condense the material enough to make it work for TV, indeed this version at 8 hours is a mere glimpse of the detail in the books.

Cast: JAMES PUREFOY as Nicholas Jenkins; SIMON RUSSELL BEALE as Kenneth Widmerpool; PAUL RHYS as Charles Stringham; CLAIRE SKINNER as Jean Duport; MIRANDA RICHARDSON as Pamela Flitton; ZOE WANAMAKER as Audrey MacLintock; ALAN BENNETT as Sillery; EDWARD FOX as Uncle Giles; JONATHAN CAKE as Peter Templar; JOHN GIELGUD as St John Clarke; EMMA FIELDING as Isobel; NICOLA WALKER as Gypsy; CARMEN DU SAUTOY as Miss Weedon; JOHN STANDING as Older Nicholas (episode 4)

Writer: Hugh Whitmore / Novels: Anthony Powell / Producer and Director: Alvin Rakoff

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UK / Channel 4 / 4×120 minute episodes / Broadcast 9 – 30 October 1997


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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