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Crimson Petal and the White, The (BBC-2 2011, Romola Garai, Chris O’Dowd)

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In The Crimson Petal and the White we are taken into the dark heart of Victorian London for a psychological thriller that tells the story of Sugar, a young prostitute, who is determined who is determined to improve her lot in life and escape from the brothel where she works for the none too likeable Mrs Castaway.

Despite being sought after by clients Sugar is more interested in the novel she is secretly writing (which just happens to be about a prostitute who murders her clients). Sugar then gets a chance to move on when she is taken as the mistress of wealthy businessman William Rackham who has more than a few secrets of his own.

A classic and hugely atmospheric slice of almost gothic melodrama The Crimson Petal and the White has a brilliant cast that includes Gillian Anderson as Brothel Madam Mrs Castaway, Romola Garai as Sugar as well as the likes of Chris O’Dowd, Richard E. Grant and Mark Gatiss.
The Crimson Petal and the White marked the start of a new commitment by BBC2 to produce high quality pieces that the station hoped would see it repositioned as the home of drama. This was a fine start to that commitment.

production details
UK | BBC Two | 4×60 minutes | 2011

WRITER: Lucinda Coxon
NOVEL: Michel Faber
PRODUCER: Steven Lightfoot, David Thompson, Greg Dummett
DIRECTOR: Marc Munden

cast
Bertie Carvel as
Katie Lyons as Clara
Tom Georgeson as Henry Rackham Snr
Mark Gatiss as Henry Rackham Junior
Liz White as Caroline
Gillian Anderson as Mrs. Castaway
Romola Garai as Sugar
Shirley Henderson as Mrs Emmeline Fox
Elizabeth Berrington as
Amanda Hale as Agnes Rackham
Richard E. Grant as Doctor Curlew
Chris O’Dowd as William Rackham
Eleanor Yates as Letty
Isla Watt as Sophie Rackham
Blake Ritson as
Alan Williams as
Moya Brady as
Peter Cellier as
Rosie Cavaliero as
Lydia Wilson as Elizabeth