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24 September 2014
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Anna Madeley as Mrs Isabella Beeton

Two exciting new films for BBC FOUR this Autumn - The Secret Life of Mrs Beeton and Fear of Fanny

Julia Davis (Nighty Night) and Anna Madeley (Stoned) are to star in two separate films about the lives of two extraordinary but contrasting female icons this autumn on BBC FOUR.


Julia Davis takes on the mantle of television's first screen celebrity chef Fanny Cradock in Fear of Fanny while Anna Madeley stars in The Secret Life of Mrs Beeton, about the ground-breaking founding editor of Harpers & Queen magazine and Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, Isabella Beeton.


BBC FOUR Controller Janice Hadlow says: "Following the success of single dramas exploring key figures from our recent past, including Kenneth Williams and Alan Clark, BBC FOUR now shines the spotlight on the colourful and fascinating lives of two very different women who changed the face of British cooking forever."


Fear of Fanny by Brian Fillis


Julia Davis is joined by Nighty Night co-star Mark Gatiss (League of Gentlemen) who plays Fanny Cradock's much maligned husband Johnnie.


Devised from interviews with Fanny's colleagues, family and critics, Fear of Fanny has been written and adapted by Brian Fillis, making his debut television adaptation from the critically acclaimed stage-play of the same name.


This at times hilarious yet poignant drama is about an ostensibly successful career woman who is haunted by the demons in her past.


The doyenne of housewives during the Sixties and Seventies, her diet-defying dishes, withering put-downs and pancake make-up made her the scourge of traditional British cooking.


Fear of Fanny is co-produced by Ben Evans (Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa!) and Angie Daniell and is directed by Coky Giedroyc (The Virgin Queen, Blackpool). The executive producer is Sally Woodward.


The Secret Life of Mrs Beeton by Sarah Williams


Just as Nigella Lawson and Martha Stewart have turned us into nations of wannabe domestic goddesses, the Victorians had their own preacher in the shape of Mrs Isabella Beeton.


Dead by the age of 28, this cultural icon was not the dumpy, crinolined matron we have been led to believe.


Instead sassy, feisty and very modern, Isabella was not a cook but a young talented journalist and editor with an entrepreneurial husband Sam played by JJ Feild (To The Ends Of The Earth).


Theirs was an extraordinary marriage - the meeting of two creative minds to the enhancement of both.


The ride was not always smooth but they brought out the best in one another and achieved things together that they could not have achieved alone.


However, the start of this marriage led to the end of Isabella's life and the revelation of a dark secret.


The Secret Life of Mrs Beeton is written by Sarah Williams (Wallis & Edward), produced by first-time producer Katherine Lannon and directed by Jon Jones (Archangel, The Alan Clark Diaries) for BBC FOUR. The executive producer is Jessica Pope.


BBC FOUR has successfully brought highly distinctive dramas to the small-screen, ranging from The Quatermass Experiment, Twenty Thousand Streets Under The Sky, The Chatterley Affair and A For Andromeda, to single dramas about figures from our recent past including The Alan Clark Diaries and Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa!


The latter attracted the highest-ever viewing figures for a uniquely commissioned programme on BBC FOUR, peaking at 946,000 and averaging 846,000 viewers.


Notes to Editors


  • Average weekly reach of BBC FOUR from January to end of March 2006 was at 11.8% (4.8m viewers), up 34% on the same period in 2005. Share was up 51% on the same period last year to 0.74%.

  • March 2006 (which included the dramas Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa!, A For Andromeda, The Chatterley Affair, and The Lavender List) was the best month since launch with a weekly reach at 12.1% (5.1m) and share at 0.83 %. Over the entire month the channel reached 11.8m viewers, the highest monthly reach so far.

  • Within BBC FOUR's transmission hours, both reach and share have remained ahead of all comparable factual channels such as More 4, Discovery, UKTV History and UKTV Drama.





Category: TV Drama; BBC FOUR
Date: 05.05.2006
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