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The Go-Between

Drama adapted from LP Hartley's novel, a story of forbidden desire and betrayal as seen through the impressionable eyes of a 13-year-old boy at the start of the 20th century.

One of the most influential British novels of the 20th century, The Go-Between is a story of forbidden love, Edwardian strictures, betrayal and tragic naivety.

Told from the perspective of Leo Colston, a callow 12-year-old middle-class boy, the story starts when he is invited by upper-class school friend Marcus Maudsley to stay at his elegant family home for the blazing hot summer of 1900. Leo is instantly enthralled by Marcus's family, and most especially his beautiful and wilful older sister Marian. When Marcus is taken ill, Leo is left to his own devices, but finds himself alone and adrift in a world of alien social mores and adult concerns.

Gauche and anxious to please, Leo is slowly and unwittingly drawn into a web of deceit as Marian pursues an illicit and passionate affair with tenant farmer Ted Burgess, a man of much inferior social position whom she can never marry. Marian and Ted befriend the lonely and easily influenced Leo and use him to carry secret messages between them. Leo quickly grows friendly with Ted and worships Marian with a mixture of innocent love and incipient sexuality he barely understands. Only when he meets Hugh Trimingham, the kind, war-wounded aristocrat to whom Marian is promised, does Leo start to question his role as intermediary.

As Leo's 13th birthday approaches, Marian's moods fluctuate and the summer heat becomes more oppressive. Wholly unable to comprehend the true implications of the adult emotions seething around him, Leo sets in motion a chain of events that ultimately prove the catalyst for a shocking tragedy that will haunt him forever.

1 hour, 30 minutes

Last on

Sun 20 Sep 2015 21:00


Role Contributor
Old Leo Jim Broadbent
Leo Jack Hollington
Marcus Maudsley Samuel Joslin
Butler Tim McMullan
Marian Maudsley Joanna Vanderham
Mrs Maudsley Lesley Manville
Denys Maudsley Jack Cutmore-Scott
Julia Emily Laing
Ted Burgess Ben Batt
Hugh Trimingham Stephen Campbell Moore
Old Marian Vanessa Redgrave
Boy Treble Nicholas Evans
Writer Adrian Hodges
Producer Claire Bennett
Director Pete Travis
Executive Producer Susan Hogg
Executive Producer Adrian Hodges


Trailer: The Go-Between

Trailer: The Go-Between

Official BBC One launch trailer for The Go-Between.

Interview: Joanna Vanderham

Interview: Joanna Vanderham

Joanna Vanderham unwraps the irresistible Marian.

Interview: Ben Batt

Interview: Ben Batt

Ben Batt describes Ted's romantic side and his love for Marian.