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16.12.02

TV DRAMA


Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Gina McKee and Tom Hollander head the cast of Stephen Poliakoff's The Lost Prince


BBC ONE, Sunday 19 January, 8.30pm. Concludes Sunday 26 January.


Press pack available


Gina McKee plays Prince John's devoted nanny, Lalla
Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Gina McKee and Tom Hollander head the cast of award-winning writer/director Stephen Poliakoff's The Lost Prince, a two-part drama from TalkBack Productions, starting on Sunday 19 January 2003.


Following the triumphant success of his BBC TWO dramas, Perfect Strangers and Shooting The Past, Poliakoff tells the little-known story of Edwardian royal, Prince John, the youngest child of George V and Queen Mary.



Prince John's short life spanned one of the most momentous periods in history – the political build-up to the First World War and the machinations of European royalty in the early part of the 20th century.


Set against a backdrop of unprecedented upheaval in Britain, The Lost Prince tells the very human story of a unique family and an extraordinary boy.


Diagnosed as an epileptic, and suffering from autistic-like learning difficulties, Prince John was unable to participate in public life and became increasingly isolated from his family.


Miranda Richardson plays Queen Mary, who tries to understand the needs of her youngest child; Gina McKee is Prince John's devoted nanny, Lalla; Tom Hollander plays George V, whose blood ties to his cousins, the Emperor of Germany and the Tsar of Russia, cannot prevent his country entering a calamitous world conflict.


Michael Gambon is Prince John's grandfather, Edward VII, with veteran Bergman film actress, Bibi Andersson, as his wife, Queen Alexandra.


John Sessions plays the young royal's exasperated tutor, Mr Hansell. Bill Nighy plays Stamfordham, King George's socially and politically adept Private Secretary. Frank Finlay and Ron Cook also star.


More than 600 boys were auditioned for the part of Prince John before Matthew Thomas, who had a small role in BBC Films' Billy Elliot, was chosen for the role.


Daniel Williams plays John at an earlier age. Rollo Weeks and Brock Everitt-Elwick play his ever-loving brother, Prince George.


Producer, John Chapman, says: "Stephen Poliakoff has written for the first time about events inspired by a true story and, like everything with him, his research was meticulous and included time spent at the Royal Archives at Windsor.


"From this he has created an extraordinarily poetic screenplay in his unique style which offers a fascinating insight about this traumatic period in history, much of which is virtually unknown."


"Prince John had epilepsy and possibly autism, and became a forgotten boy," says Poliakoff.


"We saw past events through the eyes of a child in Perfect Strangers and, in this drama, that happens on an epic scale. It is history seen through a half-open door."


Jane Tranter, Controller for Drama Commissioning for BBC Television, says: "Following the success of Shooting The Past and Perfect Strangers, both of which were shown on BBC TWO, it's brilliant to have Stephen working on BBC ONE, and for his new piece of work to be tackling such a little-known piece of history with all his usual perspicacity, originality and skill as a dramatist.


"This is a big and ambitious drama for early next year on BBC ONE, which continues the themes of the previous two in that it examines how much children are influenced by their parents."


Notes to Editors


The Lost Prince is a TalkBack production for BBC ONE.


The executive producers are Peter Fincham and Joanna Beresford (TalkBack), and David M Thompson (BBC).


The Lost Prince marks producer John Chapman's third collaboration with Stephen Poliakoff.


Previous credits are the Royal Television Society and Prix Italia-winning Shooting The Past and Perfect Strangers, which won this year's RTS awards for Best Serial and Single Drama and Best Writer for Stephen Poliakoff.


At the recent Bafta 2002 ceremony, Stephen Poliakoff received the prestigious Dennis Potter Award and Michael Gambon received Best Actor for his role as Raymond in Perfect Strangers.


The Lost Prince is the first of a number of original historical dramas for the BBC next year.


Others include a four-part serial about the life of King Charles II by the award-winning screenwriter Adrian Hodges; a two-part drama about Byron, with Jonny Lee Miller in the title role, which portrays him as the ultimate rebel whose overnight success brought him instant celebrity status; Cambridge Spies, a fresh take on the Cambridge spy ring by Peter Moffatt; and The Other Boleyn Girl, the story of Mary Boleyn, who was mistress to Henry VIII before he married her sister Anne.


In addition, a two-part drama about James I and the Gunpowder Plot, written by Jimmy McGovern, is currently in development.


Accompanying Stephen Poliakoff's The Lost Prince, and using rehearsal scenes from the drama, The King,The Kaiser And The Tsar, is a 60-minute documentary for BBC ONE which examines why the monarchy in Britain survived when nearly all the others failed.


When George V and Queen Mary appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace at the end of the First World War, the crowds cheered them wildly. The monarchy had never been more popular.


Yet the lives of many of their European cousins were changing forever, as some of the oldest monarchies in the world found themselves swept away by the war and subsequent social unrest and revolution.


The screenplay of The Lost Prince, with an introduction by Stephen Poliakoff, is to be published by Methuen, price £9.99. ISBN number 0 413 773078.


A video and DVD of The Lost Prince will also be released by BBC Worldwide, price VHS £12.99, DVD £15.99. Catalogue numbers: BBCV7373 BBCDVD1203.


Bonus extras on the DVD include a photo gallery of the spectacular stills taken on set and an informative commentary by Stephen Poliakoff, composer Adrian Johnston and Jean-Paul Kelly, the production designer.


There is also an exclusive interview with Poliakoff.


To coincide with The Lost Prince on BBC ONE, BBC FOUR presents a season of Stephen Poliakoff's dramas including Caught On A Train (1980), She's Been Away (1989) and Shooting The Past (1999).


There will also be a profile documentary, Shooting The Present, in which Poliakoff discusses his life and career, with contributions from leading British actors such as Michael Gambon, Lindsay Duncan, Matthew Macfadyen, Clive Owen and Timothy Spall.


The Lost Prince press pack is available below, in PDF format. You may require Adobe Acrobat Software to read PDF files which can be obtained here.


A synopsis is available, for media use only, from the BBC Press Office.


Production notes (94 KB)


Principal cast and production credits (141 KB)


Cast interviews (673 KB)


Family tree (47 KB)


Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon and Gina McKee head the cast of Stephen Poliakoff's The Lost Prince for BBC ONE (06.06.02)


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