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Elizabeth David: A Life in Recipes (BBC-2 2006, Catherine McCormack, Greg Wise)

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Period drama telling the life story of legendary British food writer Elizabeth David who pretty much changed the face of cuisine in post world war two britain with her ideas about introducing Mediterranean cuisine into the British house wife’s kitchen. The drama begins on the eve of world war II, when, aged 25, Elizabeth elopes with a married man to sail around the Mediterranean.

By the time the second world war has ended she has travelled to many an exotic climb and has reshaped her ideas about cooking. Returning home to ration hit Britain she begins to make a career and a name for herself as a culinary writer whose radical concepts about olivces, olive oil, apricots, avocados and herbs soon begin to make inroads all over the country. Despite a respectable public exterior her private life is a mess, with extra marital affairs and a relationship with the real love of her life who refuses to commit himself to her.

Another excellent BBC biograph dramatisation, McCormack is superb in the lead and director Kent imbues some of the cooking sequences with an almost erotic intensity. The production certainly doesn’t shy away from portraying David warts and all and the real heart of the piece is her years long relationship with Peter Higgins, begun when she was still married to Tony David.

cast
CATHERINE McCORMACK as Elizabeth David
GREG WISE as Peter Higgins
KARL JOHNSON as Norman Douglas
KIERAN O’BRIEN as Charles
JACQUELINE DEFFERARY as Bulgie
ANDREW HAVILL as Tony David
TILLY BLACKWOOD as Doreen
JANE LAPOTAIRE as Ernestine Carter
MARTIN SAVAGE as George
ALAN COX as Cuthbert
EMMA CAMPBELL-JONES as Frances
ANDREW MACBEAN as Auctioneer
GEORGIE GLEN as Pamela
LUCY SCOTT as Patricia
NEVILLE PHILLIPS as Diner
PENELOPE BEAUMONT as Mrs Diner
LAURA LONSDALE as Waitress
BART RUSPOLI as Italian Doctor
SOPHIE DUVAL as TV Reporter

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crew details
Writer: Amanda Coe
Production Design: Patrick Brill
Home Economist: Janet Brinkworth
Costume: Emma Fryer
Music: Stephen Faux
Executive Producers: Adam Kemp, Leanne Klein
Producer: Colette Flight
Director: James Kent

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC Two – Wall to Wall
Duration: 1×98 minute episode
Aired From: 3 January 2006


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.

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