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Frankenstein (ITV 2007, Helen McCrory, James Purefoy)

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Mary Shelley’s classic horror, Frankenstein, is given a fresh new twist, as literature’s most infamous creator, Dr Victor Frankenstein, is re-born in the 21st century as a female biologist.

In 1816, the Year Without Summer, a volcanic eruption filled the sky with ash. The world became dark and cold. That year, Mary Shelley conceived the story of a scientist who created a monster… and now it’s set to be re-born in the 21st century.

At an unspecified time in the near future, the earth’s climate has changed. As water mixes with the volcanic ash in the atmosphere, the rain runs red. While a storm rages overhead, Dr Victoria Frankenstein sits by the hospital bed of her dying son, William. Doctors tell her to prepare for the worst.

Brilliant and committed, Frankenstein is a scientist conducting highly controversial work in the field of stem cell research and biotechnology. Overseen by Professor Andrew Waldman (Neil Pearson) her latest research programme, the Universal Xenograft Project, is pushing her and her assistant Ed Gore (Benedict Wong) to the limit of their abilities.

But for Frankenstein, the incentive is not financial reward or international acclaim. Convinced that the UX Project is her son’s last chance for survival and maddened by grief and desperation, Victoria secretly takes a sample of his blood and incorporates it into the programme. She tells no one what she has done.

In the confines of a purpose built tank, the cells grow quickly. As they diversify, mutate and re-form, Ed is astonished by their progression. When he notes the presence of what can only be a human tooth within the tank, he alerts Waldman. The two men confront Frankenstein and the three then view X-rays of the internal activity. They reveal a large mass of organs and tissue and as she peers into the tank, an eye opens. Victoria realises with horror that she is no longer in control of the experiment. The UX is breeding its own bio-organism and… it’s alive.

production details
UK | ITV1 – Impossible Pictures | 1×75 minutes | Broadcast 24 October 2007

Writer and Director: Jed Mercurio
Book: Mary Shelley
Music:John Lunn
Script Editor: Katie Newman
Consultant Doctor: Chris McCabe
Production Design: Will Hughes-Jones
Executive Producer: Tim Haines
Producer: Hugh Warren

cast
Helen McCrory as Doctor Victoria Frankenstein
James Purefoy as Doctor Henry Clerval
Neil Pearson as Professor Waldman
Lindsay Duncan as Professor Pretorius
Benedict Wong as Doctor Ed Gore
Fraser James as Joe
Peter Wight as Detective Chief Superintendent Goode
Michael Wildman as Detective Chief Inspector Andy Connolly
Ace Bhatti as Doctor Dhillon
Julian Bleach as The Monster
Matthew Rault-Smith as William Clerval
Cally Hamilton as Little Girl
Bruce Johnson as American Intelligence Agent
Anna Torv as ITU Nurse

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