Man In An Orange Shirt

Confirmed for BBC Two on 31 July at 9pm to 10pm

Ep 1/2

Monday 31 July



In his screenwriting debut, bestselling British novelist Patrick Gale tells two love stories, 60 years apart - stories linked by family and a painting, with a secret that echoes down the generations.

Featuring a cast including the Oscar-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave, Man In An Orange Shirt charts the challenges and huge changes to gay lives from the Second World War to the present day. 

It is 1944, and in the chaos of war British Army Captain Michael Berryman (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) meets the artist Thomas March (James McArdle) in Southern Italy. Despite the fact he has a young fiancé Flora (Joanna Vanderham) waiting for him back at home, straight-laced Michael finds himself falling for Thomas’ bohemian charms.

When the war ends they steal some time away at Michael’s secluded cottage, where they briefly experience life as a couple and Thomas paints Michael’s portrait, 'Man In An Orange Shirt'. Against Thomas’ protestations, Michael then returns to the very different life in London he left before the war - back to Flora, marriage, and their plans to start a family. Thomas returns to the relative freedom of Soho where, at great personal risk, he can live the life of a gay man.

Will their old lives be enough to satisfy Michael and Thomas in the wake of what they had before? Or can they find a way for their love to survive against the pressures of conventional marriage, 1940s society, and the law? And what about Flora, now a mother - how far will she go to hold her new family together?

Further casting includes Vanessa Redgrave as the present-day Flora, Julian Morris as Adam and David Gyasi as Steve, with - in part one - Laura Carmichael as Daphne, Adrian Schiller as Lucien and Frances de la Tour as Mrs March.

Man In An Orange Shirt is produced by Kudos for BBC Two. Executive Producers are Diederick Santer for Kudos and Lucy Richer for the BBC. It is produced by Lisa Osborne and directed by Michael Samuels.

Pictured: Steve (David Gyasi), Adam (Julian Morris), Thomas (James McArdle), Michael (Oliver Jackson-Cohen)