an intimate portrait of the great diarist, naval strategist and
adulterer, starts filming for BBC TWO
Coogan plays Samuel Pepys, naval strategist and serial adulterer,
in the first major television portrayal of Pepys's life.
director Oliver Parker and writer Guy Jenkin bring to the screen
a darkly comic vision of the genius behind the famous diaries.
have a real affection for Pepys," says Steve Coogan. "He
was flawed, offensive, funny and principled all at the same time.
Jenkin's brilliant script really crystallises the character of the
time. It feels contemporary and reads unlike a typical costume drama."
Tranter, Controller of Drama Commissioning, says: "We needed
a stellar talent to make the role his own, and Steve Coogan is the
will bring intelligence and charisma to the role and Guy Jenkin's
script is clever, and by turns funny and moving.
brings out the modernity of Pepys
the man and the dilemmas through which he has to navigate if he
is to survive and prosper."
Doillon (a household name in France and sister of Charlotte Gainsbourg)
plays Pepys's French wife Elizabeth; Tim Pigott-Smith, his arch-enemy
Lord Shaftesbury; Danny Webb plays Pepys's employer Edward Montagu;
and Nathaniel Parker is Charles II.
Tapper, Sally Rogers and Miranda Raison are Pepys's mistresses and
Ciaran McMenamin is his manservant, Will.
Pepys was a man driven by lust, riven by guilt," says producer
is a portrait of the private man, his relationship with his wife
and his many infidelities.
have what every production hopes for: a cast that combines established
world-class actors with some very exciting new talent, a beautifully-judged
script from Guy, and a director of great vision, wit and humanity
script leapt from the page," says director Oliver Parker.
bristles with energy and sparkles with variety. It is, all at once
visceral and irreverent, tender and excruciatingly funny.
work is always mesmerising. He's uncompromising in his pursuit of
the darker side of his characters while at the same time forcing
us to empathise with them.
prospect of his Pepys is exhilarating: Pepys is one of history's
great observers, and Steve is one of today's."
film is a unique collaboration between the BBC's Drama, Arts and
Entertainment departments. Filming begins at the end of August at
Dorney Court, Windsor.
is written by Guy Jenkin (Jeffrey Archer: the Truth, Drop the Dead
Donkey), produced by Ben McPherson (Omnibus, Meades Eats, Britain's
Best Buildings) and directed by Oliver Parker (The Important of
Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband, Othello).
is made in Association with Steve Coogan, Henry Normal and their
production company Baby Cow.
executive producers for the BBC are Mike Dormer (Drama), David Okuefuna
(Arts) and Mark Freeland (Entertainment) and for Baby Cow, Steve
Coogan and Henry Normal.
is part of BBC TWO's commitment to the arts and complements two
other dramas celebrating the lives of some of Britain's foremost
writers: Nick Dear's drama about Byron, starring Jonny Lee Miller
in the title role, is to be shown in September and Larkin: Love
Again, a film by Richard Cottan about the life of poet Philip Larkin
starring Hugh Bonneville was shown in July.
Private Life of Samuel Pepys will be broadcast at 9.00pm on
BBC TWO on Tuesday 16 December 2003.
story of Stephen Hawking's early years told for the first time in
a major drama for BBC TWO (04.09.03)
press pack (26.08.03)
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