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29 October 2014
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The Line of Beauty
The Line of Beauty: Hayley Atwell as Catherine Fedden and Dan Stevens as Nick Guest

The Line of Beauty


 

Who's Who of The Line Of Beauty

 

Dan Stevens plays Nick Guest

 

Handsome and gay, Nick starts the story as an awkward, middle class boy from the provinces hungry to explore the wider world.

 

Fiercely intelligent, with a First from Oxford and a passion for Henry James, he is seduced by the beautiful things and beautiful people that he encounters through the glamorous Fedden family.

 

As he increases in confidence, Nick becomes sexually assertive and self-assured within London's Eighties gay scene, and a charming player in the world of privilege in which he now moves.

 

Nick is a chameleon; he wants to be all things to all people but is never quite at home anywhere.

 

Desperate to be a part of the seductive world of the Feddens, he is blinded to the darker undertones of their world.

 

He forms a protective bond with Catherine, whose illness interests him and whose sexual experience impresses him.

 

He desires Toby, respects Rachel's upper-class languor and acts as a second son to Gerald, whom he treats with jovial reverence.

 

Nick is the embodiment of romantic readiness. He is quick to fall in love, and eternally frustrated that each of his relationships have to be conducted as clandestine affairs.

 

Though aware of the social gulf between them, Nick throws himself headlong into an affair with Leo, his first love, and has his heart broken when Leo puts an abrupt end to things.

 

With Wani, Nick acts as an indulgent parent towards a child he loves too much, constantly amazed by Wani's beauty.

 

Tim McInnerny plays Gerald Fedden

 

Charismatic and larger-than-life, newly elected MP Gerald Fedden is becoming a real player within the Tory party and has even been tipped for a job in the cabinet.

 

Gerald feeds off the adrenalin of politics and is enthralled by Mrs Thatcher ("the Lady"), though his home constituency of Barwick (Nick's parents' home) is rather a burden of duty.

 

Gerald is a charming bon viveur, a great host and a canny networker.

 

And he has an enviable family life; the seemingly perfect marriage and beautiful children.

 

But as we are drawn further into the story, his selfishness and ruthless ambition begin to emerge.

 

Life in the family home is gradually torn apart by revelations of an affair with his secretary, Penny, and the emotional instability of his daughter, Catherine.

 

Unwilling to shoulder the blame personally, Nick becomes the inevitable scapegoat.

 

Alice Krige plays Rachel Fedden

 

Gerald's elegant and charming wife, Rachel, is from a family of wealthy Jewish bankers.

 

She appears the consummate politician's wife. She is cultured and sophisticated, runs a beautiful house and is a brilliant hostess for their endless dinner parties and soirees.

 

She makes a great effort to make Nick feel a part of the family, and becomes everything that Nick wished his real mother could be.

 

Rachel is more sensitive than Gerald, but remains as incapable as her husband of accepting the severity of Catherine's illness.

 

When the family is threatened by scandal, Rachel refuses to face up to the whole truth and duly stands by her man.

 

As Nick is made scapegoat for their problems, it is her sharp and shocking remonstration that cuts him the deepest.

 

Oliver Coleman plays Toby Fedden

 

Beautiful and sporty, Toby is refreshingly uncomplicated and open. He is the golden boy upon whom Gerald's hopes are pinned, though he lacks Cat's quick wit.

 

Toby is an innocent in the world of the Feddens, and never judges them or anyone else.

 

Even when his parents invite the parents of an ex-girlfriend to stay with them all in France, Toby is quick to brush over any awkwardness.

 

He is a good friend to Nick, and genuinely upset at the end that Nick hasn't been more open with him.

 

Hayley Atwell plays Catherine Fedden

 

Catherine is Toby's self-harming, manic depressive younger sister, who is sparky, amusing, dangerous, sexy, and rude to the Feddens' friends.

 

When "up", she is a loose cannon, speaking the truth where no one else dares.

 

Her increasingly heavy dosage of lithium suggests the Feddens' desire to silence these "eccentric outbursts" and maintain the family's fragile status quo.

 

She is the family's conscience, and when events reach breaking point, it is Catherine who exposes the lies that both the family and Nick have been living.

 

Catherine is a beguiling, damaged and needy character, with a string of disastrous relationships behind her.

 

She forms the closest bond to Nick because he is intelligent and sensitive enough to understand her. Yet tragically it is she who finally betrays him.

 

Don Gilet plays Leo Charles

 

Nick's first boyfriend, Leo, is black, works for the council, rides a bicycle and lives in Willesden.

 

Leo is cocky, sexually promiscuous and, although intelligent, not an intellectual.

 

He comes from a one-parent religious background, where his homosexuality is a secret, and has been supported in the past by Pete, an antiques dealer who now has Aids.

 

Despite the difference between the lives they are living, Leo and Nick form a close bond.

 

Nick is left reeling when Leo mysteriously ends their affair at its most intense point, and it's only as the years pass that Nick begins to piece together the truth.

 

Though just a few streets away, Leo's world gives us a taster of life beyond the privileged drawing rooms of the Feddens.

 

Alex Wyndham plays Wani (Antoine) Ouradi

 

Wani - beautiful, rich and decadent - comes from a Lebanese family and is heir to a multi-million pound supermarket chain.

 

Wani is like a delinquent prince and refuses to admit he is gay.

 

To appease his domineering father, he is newly engaged to a girl carefully selected by the family, and keeps his affair with Nick a secret.

 

Wonderful and pathetic, Wani at times treats Nick badly, but pays for the privilege of doing so; everything in Wani's world can be bought.

 

Wani later supports Nick financially, and Nick colludes in Wani's fatal cocaine and sex-fuelled spiral of self-destruction.


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