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Tipping the Velvet
Set in England in the 1890s, Tipping the Velvet is a colourful, passionate and entertaining lesbian love story.
As charismatic heroine Nan Astley (Rachael Stirling) grows into womanhood, she realises that she's attracted to women, not men. It leads her into a series of lesbian adventures.
The glamorous world of 19th century music hall provides the backdrop for Nan's first love affair with Kitty (Keeley Hawes), a popular male impersonator music hall star. They become a double act both on and off stage, but their manager Walter (John Bowe) wins Kitty's hand as she ultimately chooses the safety of a traditional life rather than risking the public disapproval of her true feelings for Nan.
Devastated by Kitty's betrayal, Nan takes to the streets to survive, in her guise as a male impersonator, and finds a niche in the Victorian sexual underworld. She's drawn to Florence (Jodhi May), but is unable to tell her the truth about her secret street life.
Instead, she's spotted by the wealthy widow, Diana Lethaby (Anna Chancellor), a woman in her thirties who is amoral, capricious and predatory. She introduces Nan into a world of luxury and debauchery, and makes Nan her sexual slave.
When Nan is thrown back onto the streets, she searches for Florence, who is initially deeply mistrustful, but a strong bond develops between them that blossoms into real and lasting love.
The novel Tipping the Velvet was written by Sarah Waters, with acclaimed dramatist Andrew Davies adapting it for the screen.
''Sarah Waters writes from a deep understanding not only of the great Victorian writers, but also the underground literature of the time - the pornographic fiction and private memoirs which revealed the truth about what men and women thought and did in the later years of the 19th century,'' highlights Davies.
''She also writes with an extraordinary, gutsy zest for life in all its often comic complexity, especially the sexual life. The effect of this is sometimes shocking, but always illuminating and life-enhancing.''
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