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29 October 2014
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Frankenstein: Birth of a Monster

BBC ONE, Sunday 7 December at 8.00pm

Lucy Davenport as Mary Shelley and David Schofield as Frankenstein's monster
In life, as in literature, Mary Shelley's famous monster, Frankenstein, overshadows its creator.

The story of Frankenstein has become a modern myth, one which has developed a life of its own, mutating with every re-telling.

It is frequently forgotten that the creature now thought of as Frankenstein – Boris Karloff's dumb, inarticulate beast – is massively removed from the sophisticated, sensitive creation of Mary Shelley, perfect in all but appearance.

Using Mary's own words and accounts from the people who knew her, and dramatic reconstructions of events in Mary's life and from her famous novel, Frankenstein: Birth of a Monster tells the true story of Frankenstein's monster and the remarkable woman who created him.

It reveals how the turbulent events in Mary's emotional life - the death of her mother in childbirth, the suicide of her sister and the drowning of her husband – fed the depictions of rage and loneliness that Frankenstein's creation experiences.

It demonstrates how the book – like Frankenstein's monster – is a patchwork of the radical political ideas with which Mary was brought up: the unprecedented scientific developments taking place at the time; and the cataclysmic events happening across the channel in the French revolution.

It discusses the importance of the infamous 'Summer of Darkness' at Lord Byron's Villa Diodati in inspiring Mary to put pen to paper.

In the dramatic, desolate landscape of the Alps the programmme uncovers the true face of the monster of Frankenstein.

Faithful to Mary Shelley's original idea and using state-of-the-art make up, the programme reveals the monster as Mary intended.

The programme is narrated by Professor Robert Winston and features Lucy Davenport (Gangs of New York, Ted and Sylvia), David Schofield as the monster and Ronan Vibert as Frankenstein, Oliver Chris as Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Harriet Walter and Clive Merrison as Mary's parents, William Goodwin and Mary Wollstonecraft.

Notes to Editors

In Search of the Brontës

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