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Belonging (ITV1 Drama, Brenda Blethyn, Kevin Whately)

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Belonging is a poignant film, with a cast of marvelously drawn characters. Painful in its honesty yet tenderly funny, the moving and comical novel The Web of Belonging by Stevie Davies was adapted by the always fabulous Alan Plater..

Set in Shrewsbury where Jess (Brenda Blethyn), a pillar of the community, lives with her dependable husband Jacob (Kevin Whately), together with Jacob’s mother May (Brenda Bruce), his aunt Brenda (Anna Massey) and his widowed elderly cousin Nathan (Peter Sallis). With selfless dedication and quiet religious conviction, Jess has given up her job as a librarian to care for the Oldies.

One day Jacob goes out to the pub and never returns and slowly and inexorably, Jess’s life starts to fall apart. She now has to question the entire foundations on which her life has been built and to cope with the younger woman in Jacob’s life…

It’s hard to build a new life while still tending to a manipulative, spectacularly selfish, chatterbox mother-in-law May; or fretting about dignified Nathan who spends most of his time on his knees praying; or catering to frail, nervous Brenda, who spends even longer in the lavatory than May. Then there are Jess’s good friends including Kathy and Averil – and even a man who shows a keen interest in Jess. The film sees a woman rebuilding her life around the lives of those she cares for.

Cast: Brenda Blethyn as Jess Copplestone; Rosemary Harris as May Copplestone; Anna Massey as Brenda; Peter Sallis as Nathan; Jill Baker as Cathy; Kevin Whately as Jacob Copplestone; Matthew Marsh as Peter Fox; Helen Masters as Hazel; Daniel Chenery as Fergus; Poppy Lea Friar as Lara; Muriel Pavlow as Dorothy; Eliza Hunt as Jane Ventress; Joanna David as Averil; Joe van Moyland as Luke; Fiona O’Shaughnessy as Stephanie; Tom Bennett as Police Constable Cowley; Teresa Churcher as Detective Constable Sinclair; Liz Moscrop as Mrs Jenkins; Maisy Taylor as Nella; Roisin Rae as Waitress; Bindu De Stoppani as Nurse

Writer: Alan Plater / Novel: Stevie Davis / Producers: Jenny Edwards, Jeanna Polley / Director: Christopher Menaul

UK / ITV1 – The Producers – Minotaur International / 1×100 minute episode / Broadcast 12 September 2004