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Tuesday 02 Sep 2014

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Vibrant young cast for Desperate Romantics on BBC Two

BBC Drama Production announces a vibrant young cast for Desperate Romantics: Aidan Turner (Being Human, The Clinic), Rafe Spall (A Room With A View, Hot Fuzz), Tom Hollander (John Adams, Pride And Prejudice), Samuel Barnett (Beautiful People, The History Boys), Zoe Tapper (Survivors, Demons), Amy Manson (Torchwood), Sam Crane (Church Going) and Jennie Jacques (The Bill) star as a maverick group of English painters, poets and their muses.

Set in and among the alleys, galleries and flesh-houses of 19th century industrial London, Desperate Romantics follows the life and love affairs of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of revolutionary artists as well-known for their intertwining love lives as for their ground-breaking paintings.

The scandalous love triangles with their models became the subject of much gossip amongst their contemporaries, particularly as these relationships often crossed the class barriers of polite Victorian society.

Rafe Spall stars as William "Maniac" Hunt, a founding member of the Brotherhood; Tom Hollander plays the influential art critic and patron John Ruskin; Aidan Turner is Dante Gabriel Rossetti, notorious for seducing his models; Samuel Barnett plays John Millais, whose relationship with Ruskin's wife, Effie, played by Zoe Tapper, created fevered public speculation; Amy Manson plays Rossetti's true love Lizzie Siddal, the model for Millais' most highly-regarded painting, Ophelia; Sam Crane plays Fred Walters, the group's loyal friend and diarist; and Jennie Jacques plays Annie Miller, the prostitute whose relationship with Hunt has dramatic repercussions.

This colourful drama from BBC Drama Production for BBC Two will be executive produced by Hilary Salmon (Criminal Justice, House Of Saddam).

Co-executive producer is Franny Moyle, whose factual book, Desperate Romantics: The Private Lives Of The Pre-Raphaelites, inspired the drama series.

The series is being produced by Ben Evans (Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa!, Curse Of Comedy) and written by Peter Bowker (Blackpool, The Canterbury Tales).

Kate Harwood, Controller, Series and Serials, BBC Drama Production, says: ""Desperate Romantics paints a modern, vivid and irreverent portrait of a group of young painters whose attitude to the establishment makes them comparable to the punks a hundred years later.

"I'm delighted that BBC Drama Production continues to surprise with our diverse dramas, ranging from the BBC Two hit House Of Saddam and The 39 Steps for BBC One to A Short Stay In Switzerland, starring Julie Walters."

Desperate Romantics will film in and around London at the end of January 2009.

Desperate Romantics was commissioned by Jane Tranter, former Controller, BBC Fiction, and Roly Keating, former Controller, BBC Two.

BBC Drama Production is a world leader in producing much loved and critically-acclaimed dramas including Cranford, Hunter, Waking The Dead, Lark Rise To Candleford, Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, BBC Four - Curse Of Comedy season, plus Criminal Justice, BBC Two's House Of Saddam.

Forthcoming dramas for 2009 include Moses Jones, Survivors (second series) and All The Small Things.

GJ

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