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29 October 2014
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Christopher Eccleston and Emma Cunniffe star in Flesh and Blood, a film for BBC TWO

Christopher Eccleston and Emma Cunniffe star in Flesh and Blood, a new single drama for BBC TWO written by Peter Bowker, which tells the story of a father whose world is turned upside down when he discovers the truth about his origins.

Flesh and Blood is a BBC/Red Production directed by Julian Farino (Our Mutual Friend, Bob and Rose, 7 Up 2000) and produced by Derek Wax (Sparkhouse).

It will be shown as part of the What's Your Problem season on BBC TWO - a season of factual programmes and drama commissioned by the channel's controller Jane Root, based on issues of disability.

Adopted at birth, Joe Broughton (Christopher Eccleston) is overwhelmed by an obsessive desire to trace his real parents after the birth of his daughter Marie.

When he discovers that his mother and father are learning disabled and never knew they had a child, his world is blown apart.

For Joe as well as his wife Cath (Emma Cunniffe), it's the beginning of a rollercoaster journey which challenges not only his preconceptions about disability, but also his sense of his own identity.

The key roles of Joe's birth mother and father - Janet and Harry - are played by Dorothy Cockin and Peter Kirby, who were cast after an extensive search among people with learning disabilities in the north west of England.

Flesh and Blood also features Barbara Marten (Bob and Rose) and Stephen Graham (Snatch, Gangs of New York).

Executive Producer Laura Mackie says: "Peter Bowker adapted his script in response to the casting of Peter and Dorothy to reflect elements of their own lives.

"They have no screen acting experience, but their life experience helped shape the film. It was an unusual but highly collaborative production process which continued with Peter Bowker's presence on set during filming.

"It's also a unique co-venture - whilst it is being made with Red Production Company, it is the first collaboration between the BBC's Drama and Factual & Learning Departments, and the Disability Programme Unit."

Peter Bowker, whose credits include Undercover Heart (nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Drama Series) and Christmas Carol, says: "In Flesh and Blood I wanted to explore what it feels like to believe that you've got no history, that your history starts with you. How would it affect you, how far would it throw you?"

Christopher Eccleston's television credits include Strumpet, Linda Green, Clocking Off, Our Friends in the North and Cracker, as well as The Others, Elizabeth and Shallow Grave in the cinema.

Emma Cunniffe's credits include The Whistle-Blower, The Innocents, All The King's Men, Great Expectations and The Lakes.

Flesh and Blood is funded by BBC Drama and the BBC's Disability Programme Unit.

The executive producers are Nicola Shindler (Red Production Company) and Laura Mackie and Alex Holmes (BBC).



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