She’s Been Away (Screen One BBC-1 1990, Peggy Ashcroft, Geraldine James)

She’s Been Away was written by Stephen Poliakoff and directed by Sir Peter Hall, it also features Dame Peggy Ashcroft in her last screen role. After 60 years in a mental institution, Lillian Huckle (Ashcroft) is released into the care of her nephew, Hugh Ambrose (James Fox) and his wife Harriet (Geraldine James).

However Lillian is hardly a placid house guest and her eccentricities quickly grate on materialistic Harriet, who is already pregnant with the couple’s second child. In an act of impulsive will, Harriet and Lillian flee London on a road trip during which clues of Lillian’s own her personal history of rebellion against the social mores of the ’20s and ’30s draws the two women closer together.

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Actress Rebecca Pidgeon appears in one of her first screen roles as the young Lillian. Pidgeon, who performs a song in the film while jumping on a divan is also an accomplished jazz/folk singer/songwriter.

Series: Screen One Season 1 Episode 5

Peggy Ashcroft as Lillian Huckle
Geraldine James as Harriet Ambrose
James Fox as Hugh Ambrose
Rosalie Crutchley as Gladys
Rachel Kempson as Matilda
Hugh Lloyd as George
Jackson Kyle as Dominic Ambrose
Rebecca Pidgeon as Young Lillian
Donald Douglas as Lillian’s Father
Brid Brennan as Lillian’s Nurse
Cryss Jane Healey
Leslie Goodhall
Edgar Goodhall
Rene Zagger
Barnaby Holm
David Hargreaves
Hugh Ross
Carrie Thomas
Sally Ann Goodworth
Jon Strickland
Michael Carter
Nick Kemp
Harry Tait Trio
Claire Williamson
Graham Callan
James Griffiths
Francesca Buller
Maureen Nelson
Robyn Moore
Pamela Dale
Richard Haddon-Haines
David Timson
Richard Huw
Malcolm Mudie
Anne Haydn
Doyle Richmond

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crew details
Writer: Stephen Poliakoff
Director: Peter Hall
Producer: Kenith Trodd
Director of Photography: Philip Bonham-Carter
Editor: Ardan Fisher
Music: Stephen Edwards, Richard Hartley
Production Designer: Gary Williamson

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC One
Duration: 1×100 minute episode
Aired From: 8 October 1989

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.