Dresser, The (Starz-BBC 2015, Ian McKellen, Anthony Hopkins)

The Dresser is a made-for-tv movie is an adaptation of Ronald Harwood’s play, adapted and directed by Richard Eyre (Notes on a Scandal, Iris).

The Dresser also brings Ian McKellen and Anthony Hopkins together on screen for the first time in their acclaimed careers. It also marks Hopkins’ first appearance in a television drama in more than 20 years.

The Dresser tells the story of one fateful night, backstage in a small regional theatre during World War II as a troupe of touring actors stages a production of Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear.’ Bombs are falling, sirens are wailing, the curtain is up in an hour but the actor/manager ‘Sir’ (Hopkins) who is playing Lear is nowhere to be seen.

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His dresser ‘Norman’ (McKellen) must scramble to make sure the show goes on but will Sir turn up in time and if he does will he be able to perform that night?

The Dresser is a wickedly funny and deeply moving story of friendship and loyalty as Sir reflects on his lifelong accomplishments and seeks to reconcile his turbulent friendships with those in his employ before the final curtain.

It was first adapted for the screen by Harwood himself 32 years ago, in the 1983 Peter Yates film starring Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay. The current production reverts to Ronald Harwood’s original text as it was written for the stage.

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production details
UK | Starz – Altus Media – BBC Worldwide Productions – Playground Entertainment – Prescience – Sonia Friedman Productions | 105 minutes | 2015

Colin Callender as Executive Producer
Paul Brett as Executive Producer
Polly Hilly as Executive Producer
Richard Eyre as Writer/Director
Ronald Harwood as Play
Sonia Friedman as Executive Producer
Suzan Harrison as Producer
Tim Smith as Executive Producer

Ian McKellen as Norman
Tom Brooke as Oxenby/Edmond
Edward Fox as Thornton
Anthony Hopkins as Sir
Emily Watson as Her Ladyship
Vanessa Kirby as Irene
Sarah Lancashire as Madge
Matthew Cottle as Albany
Ian Conningham as Kent
Helen Bradbury as Regan

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.