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A Number (BBC-2 2008, Tom Wilkinson, Rhys Ifans)



In Scifi tinged drama A Number 30 something Bernard discovers that he might not be his father’s only son, in fact he is a clone and is one of A Number of Bernard’s walking around. There may even be as many as 20 clones in existence, Bernard is determined to seek answers, but his father, Salter, is unwilling to tell him the truth, his real son then turns up with trouble on his mind.

Basically a two hander between Ifans and Wilkinson with several roles for Ifans, this is is marvellous piece of what is basically theatre. Writer Caryl Churchill, who has been using the scifi theme for some time (in 1981 she contributed a play to the BBC Anthology Play For Tomorrow) to talk about the nature of family and relationships. A Number also poses some interesting questions about the idea of nature over nuture. There was a good pay off scene at the end too. The original stage play was first staged at the Royal Court Theatre in 2002.

production details
UK / BBC-2 – Rainmark Films – HBO Films / 1×68 minute episode / Broadcast Wednesday 10 September 2008

Writer: Caryl Churchill / Production Design: John Paul Kelly / Costumes: Consolata Boyle / Music: Matthew Herbert / Executive Producer: David M Thompson / Producers: Frank Doelger, Tracey Scoffield, Lee Morris / Director: James MacDonald

RHYS IFANS as Bernard 1, Bernard 2 and Michael Black