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Burton and Taylor

Drama telling the story of Hollywood's most glamorous couple, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, who acted together for the last time in Noel Coward's Private Lives in 1983.

Drama telling the story of Hollywood's most glamorous couple, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, who acted together for the last time in Noel Coward's Private Lives in 1983.

When Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton met on the set of Cleopatra, the attraction was immediate. The public were enthralled by their illicit romance, two tempestuous marriages, frequent break-ups and extravagant reunions. They were the original fabulous stars, conspicuous in their consumption of clothes, houses, yachts, diamonds, and, more damagingly, alcohol.

In 1976 Richard and Elizabeth divorced for the second time. They both married other people and it seemed that the romance of the century might truly be over. Then, in 1982, they both separated and were free again. In 1983, Richard and Elizabeth had one final reunion on the stage when they spent seven months touring with Noel Coward's Private Lives. During the tour public speculation grew about the possibility of another marriage, but in private old frictions played out once again. Speculation about another reunion ended when Richard Burton married his fiancée Sally Hay halfway through the run.

This is the story of the first celebrity 'it' couple. Beyond alcohol, pills and the trappings of fame, was love the ultimate crutch that allowed them to escape the realities of their extraordinary lives? Funny, glamorous, tempestuous and dripping with diamonds, this is the last battle of the Burtons.

7 months left to watch

1 hour, 30 minutes

Last on

Wed 21 Jun 2017 21:00

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • Imagination

    Just an Illusion

  • Donna Summer

    Love to Love You Baby

  • Sylvester

    You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)

Credits

Role Contributor
Elizabeth Taylor Helena Bonham Carter
Richard Burton Dominic West
Kathryn Walker Sarah Hadland
John Cullum William Hope
Milton Katselas Stanley Townsend
Mike Michael Jibson
Chen Sam Lenora Crichlow
ASM Jess Doherty
Zev Bufman Greg Hicks
Maria Burton Isabella Brazier-Jones
Liza Todd Burton Lucille Sharp
Sally Burton Cassie Raine
Reporter Martin Sherman
Journalist Trevor White
Journalist Jeff Mash
Producer Lachlan MacKinnon
Director Richard Laxton
Writer William Ivory

Broadcasts

Video interview

Video interview

Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter talk Burton and Taylor

Preview clip

Preview clip

Video: Richard and Elizabeth answer journalists’ questions

Preview clip

Preview clip

Video: Richard arrives at Elizabeth’s birthday party