Tuesday 16 Sep 2014
BBC Two's exciting new six-part drama, Desperate Romantics, set in the throbbing heart of 19th-century industrial London, follows the adventures of three men who created what would become one of Britain's most important art movements: the self-styled "Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood".
Starring as the maverick group of English artists, their associates and muses are: 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).
Amidst a backdrop of 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 among their contemporaries, particularly as these relationships often crossed the class barriers of polite Victorian society.
Rafe Spall stars as William 'Maniac' Holman 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 Everett 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 is written by award-winning writer Peter Bowker (Blackpool, Occupation) and executive produced by Hilary Salmon (Criminal Justice, House Of Saddam), for BBC Drama Production.
Co-executive producer is Franny Moyle, whose factual book, Desperate Romantics: The Private Lives Of The Pre-Raphaelites, has inspired the drama series. The series is produced by Ben Evans (Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa!, Curse Of Comedy).
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."