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Episode 5

Desperate Romantics Episode 5 of 6

Rossetti and Lizzie revel in their new-found status and wealth, acquired courtesy of Ruskin's generous patronage. Swept up in a whirlwind of late-night partying and debauchery, they forget about their art, including the commissions they've promised to complete.

Ruskin is less than impressed. He threatens to end his support unless they calm down and focus. He instructs Lizzie to report to his house every day, in order to paint in his studio. He also instructs her, to Rossetti's annoyance, to stay at her parents' house each night, in order to avoid further temptation to stray from her art. Lizzie responds swiftly and obediently to Ruskin's orders, leaving a disgruntled Rossetti to get back to the church mural he's been commissioned to paint.

Rossetti, as usual, struggles to knuckle down and instead goes out on the town again, commencing a raunchy affair with the street girl Fanny Cornforth. Fanny's beauty, unlike Lizzie's, is large, fleshy and voluptuous, and it inspires in Rossetti a new, richer and more sensual style of painting. Indeed, Fanny's unbridled hedonism, as opposed to Lizzie's tendency towards neurosis, inspires in Rossetti a new lease of life. He receives further creative succour from his new young students, William Morris and Ned Burne-Jones, who offer their unadulterated worship and also their much-needed assistance with the dreaded church mural.

While Rossetti enjoys himself, Lizzie, worried about losing him to another woman, struggles to obey Ruskin's orders to keep away. It's only a matter of time before she returns to find him in Fanny's arms.

59 minutes

Last on

Thu 1 Apr 2010 22:40


Role Contributor
William 'Maniac' HuntRafe Spall
Dante Gabriel RossettiAidan Turner
John MillaisSamuel Barnett
Fred WaltersSam Crane
John RuskinTom Hollander
Effie RuskinZoe Tapper
Lizzie SiddalAmy Manson
Annie MillerJennie Jacques
Mr SiddalIan Puleston-Davies
Mrs SiddalPolly Kemp
Charlotte SiddalJosie Farmiloe
Charles DickensMark Heap
William MorrisDyfrig Morris
Edward Burne-JonesPeter Sandys-Clarke
Jane BurdenNatalie Thomas
Fanny CornforthRebecca Davies
Mrs RuskinGeorgie Glen
Rose La TouchePoppy Lee Friar
MinisterTim FitzHigham
Executive ProducerHilary Salmon
Executive ProducerFranny Moyle
ProducerBen Evans
DirectorDiarmuid Lawrence
WriterPeter Bowker

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