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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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The Turn Of The Screw on BBC One

BBC Drama announces a re-working of the Henry James classic, The Turn Of The Screw, for BBC One, starring Michelle Dockery (Cranford, Red Riding) as the young governess, Ann, Sue Johnston (The Royle Family, Waking The Dead) as Mrs Grose and Mark Umbers (Mistresses) as the Master.

Adapted by Sandy Welch (Emma, Jane Eyre), the 90-minute drama is reset in the Twenties, when Britain is still imbued with the grief of the First World War, adding a chilling extra dimension.

Ben Stephenson, Controller of Drama Commissioning, says: "Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a ghost story for the adults to watch in front of the fire when the children are in bed, and they don't get more chilling than this bold reimagining of the classic Henry James tale."

The Turn Of The Screw tells the story of a young governess, Ann, who is sent to a country house to take care of two orphans, Miles (Josef Lindsay) and Flora (Eva Sayer).

Shortly after Ann begins her duties, Miles is expelled from boarding school for being "a threat to the other boys" and Ann fears that there is something else behind the expulsion. She is, however, too charmed by the adorable young boy to want to press the issue.

Ann starts to see the figures of a man and woman around the grounds of the estate. The figures come and go at will without ever being seen or challenged by other members of the household, and they seem to Ann to be supernatural.

She learns that her predecessor, Miss Jessel (Katie Lightfoot) and her illicit lover Peter Quint (Edward MacLiam), another former servant of the household, a clever but abusive man, both died under curious circumstances. Prior to their death, they spent most of their time with Flora and Miles, and this fact takes on a grim significance for Ann when she becomes convinced that the two children are secretly aware of the presence of the ghosts.

Ann soon becomes obsessed with the belief that malevolent forces are stalking the children in her care, manipulating Miles and Flora and even using them to continue their relationship from beyond the grave. Ann determines to save her charges from these supernatural beings, but this comes at huge cost to herself and her sanity.

The Turn Of The Screw was commissioned by Ben Stephenson and Jay Hunt, Controller of BBC One, and is executive produced by Jessica Pope (Hunter, Sense And Sensibility), produced by Colin Wratten (Waking The Dead, EastEnders) and directed by Tim Fywell (The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency).

Originally published in 1898, the short novel was written by US-born British author Henry James.

Filming begins in August on location in the West Country.

BBC Drama Production is a world leader in producing much-loved and critically acclaimed dramas, including The 39 Steps, Criminal Justice, Cranford, Lark Rise To Candleford, Emma, Survivors, Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, House Of Saddam and Little Dorrit.


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