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A Short Stay In Switzerland – introduction

Julie Walters in A Short Stay In Switzerland

Julie Walters (Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story; Mamma Mia!) stars in A Short Stay In Switzerland for BBC One, a one-off drama inspired by the true story of Dr Anne Turner by award-winning writer Frank McGuinness.

Kate Harwood, Controller, Series and Serials, BBC Drama Production, says: "One of Ireland's foremost dramatists, Frank brings a lightness of touch, dark wit and a heart-wrenching humanity to this piece inspired by Anne Turner's story about life and death, love and family."

Having just witnessed the death of her husband Jack from an incurable neurological disease, Anne Turner (Julie Walters) is diagnosed with a near-identical illness.

With determined rationality, Anne's answer is that once her illness has reached a critical point, she will take her own life. And she needs her children's support.

But the more her son and two daughters struggle to gain consensus over their mother's desire to die, as they struggle to find another way through, the further they pull apart.

From Jessica's silent recriminations to Sophie's stubborn practicality, the magnitude of the situation threatens to tear the family to pieces.

Anne must also face the fury of her best friend Claire – whose opposing views bring them into direct and vocal conflict.

Writer Frank McGuinness adds: "As a doctor Anne Turner lived and worked by her principles, and she chose to die by them. This film recognises that rare courage."

Cast also includes: Stephen Campbell Moore as Edward Turner; Lyndsey Marshal as Jessica; Liz White as Sophie; Harriet Walter as Claire; Patrick Malahide as Richard; Will Knightley as Jack; and Michelle Fairley plays Mrs Savery, Anne's loyal housekeeper.

A Short Stay In Switzerland is a BBC Drama Production for BBC One.

Produced by Liz Trubridge (The Riff Raff Element; Sex Chips And Rock n' Roll).

The executive producer is Ruth Caleb (Last Resort, Bullet Boy, Learners and Red Dust starring Hilary Swank).

The director is Simon Curtis (Cranford, Five Days, Freezing).

Writer Frank McGuinness's credits include: Observe The Sons Of Ulster Marching Towards The Somme (which won a host of awards including London Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright); Henhouse; Carthaginians; and a film adaptation of Dancing At Lughnasa which starred Meryl Streep.

BBC Drama Production is a world leader in producing much-loved and critically acclaimed dramas including Cranford, Oliver Twist, Five Days, Waking The Dead, Lark Rise To Candleford, Sense And Sensibility; BBC Four's recent Curse of Comedy season, plus Criminal Justice, BBC Two's House Of Saddam; and Tess of The D'Urbervilles, Little Dorrit and Survivors on BBC One.

A Short Stay In Switzerland transmits on Sunday 25 January 2009, 9.00 to 10.30pm, on BBC One. Viewers will have the chance to catch up on A Short Stay In Switzerland after transmission using BBC iPlayer.

A Short Stay In Switzerland is also being shown on BBC HD – the BBC's high definition channel available through Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media. With up to five times more detail than standard definition television, HD gives you exceptionally vivid colours and crisp pictures to make A Short Stay In Switzerland a truly cinematic TV experience.


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