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Illustrated Mum, The (Channel 4 2003, Michelle Collins, Holliday Grainger)

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The Illustrated Mum was a one-off drama starring Michelle Collins, based on Jacqueline Wilson’s award-winning children’s book, dramatised by Debbie Isitt. Collins plays Marigold Westward, a tattooed, manic-depressive, heavy-drinking, single mother, with two daughters, Star (Holly Grainger) and Dolphin (Alice Connor), who have different fathers. Dolphin, aged just 10, struggles to keep the family together when her mother Marigold becomes mentally ill, while emotionally bruised older sister Star has lost faith in their mother. The sisters have different fathers.

The book was hated by Tory MP Ann Widdecombe when she was judging the Whitbread prize. ‘It is a children’s book about a drunken mother and her two children by different fathers. I thought these themes should not be promoted for children and I disliked it intensely on those grounds.’

A young Holliday Grainger as a key role as Marigold’s emotionally bruised oldest daughter.

production details
UK | Channel 4 | 1×105 minutes | Broadcast 31 December 2003

Script: Debbie Isitt
Book: Jacqueline Wilson
Producer: Julia Ouston
Director: Cilla Ware

cast
Michelle Collins as Marigold Westward
Holliday Grainger as Star Westward
Alice Connor as Dolphin Westward
Bruce McGregor as Michael
Con O’Neill as Micky
Luke Bailey as Mark
Sacha Parkinson as Tasha
Henry Cox as Oliver Morris
John Elkington as Mr Harrison
Ryan Bruce as Ronnie
Sophie Grainger as Star’s School Friend
Chelsea Corrigan as Yvonne
Lisa George as Miss Hill
Charlotte Graham as Kayleigh
Pauline Jefferson as Mrs Luft
Dave Southall as Steve
Helen Spence as Tasha’s Mum