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Room At The Top

2013 BAFTA Best Mini-Series winner

From the novel by John Braine

Screenplay – Amanda Coe
Directed by Aisling Walsh

BBC4 – Autumn 2012
Starring Matthew McNulty, Maxine Peake and Jenna-Louise Coleman

MAXINE PEAKE – Alice Aisgill
JULIA FORD – Mrs Thompson
KEVIN DOYLE – Mr Thompson
TOM BROOKE – Charles
THEO JAMES – Jack Wales
PETER WIGHT – Mr Hoylake

Sound Recordist – CHRIS ATKINSON
Hair & Make-up Designer – CAROLINE NOBLE
Costume Designer – AMY ROBERTS
Casting Director – RACHEL FRECK
Production Designer – CHRIS TRUELOVE
Director of Photography – LUKAS STREBEL

Producer Paul Frift
Executive Producers Robert Cooper and Kate Triggs
Shot on location in Yorkshire December 2010
2 by 60 mins or 1 by 100 mins

Sales BBC Worldwide

Vibrant, visceral, modern and compelling, Amanda Coe’s two-part adaptation of John Braine’s post-war classic tells the story of a young man on the make.

All seems to be going to plan for Joe. He has a new job in a smart town in Yorkshire and his looks and energy have attracted the daughter of a rich local businessman. But then he meets Alice Aisgill, with whom he finds a true passion of both the heart and the senses. Their lives will never be the same again.

Having qualified as an accountant in a German Prisoner Of War camp, Joe leaves working-class, industrial Dufton behind him and takes a job as senior audit clerk at the town hall in affluent Warley. He takes lodgings at “T’ Top” – the poshest part of the town - and starts to make his mark on Warley society. Good at his job, Joe quickly shows his natural skill at climbing the career ladder up through the petty politics of local government. But Joe has two things on his mind – money and sex – and his ambitions go well beyond anything offered by civic life.

He embarks on a plan to marry into the prosperous middle classes by joining the local amateur dramatic society in order to meet a better class of woman. Seeing that Joe’s working-class, chip-on-the-shoulder attitude is likely to get him into trouble, he is taken under the wing of fellow thespian Alice Aisgill  (Maxine Peake) – a woman ten years older than Joe - who urges him to date Susan Brown (Jenna-Louise Coleman), daughter of the richest – and most powerful - man in Warley.

Alice is unhappily married to a rich local car dealer and is known in the am-dram society as something of a femme fatale. She watches as Joe succeeds in luring Susan away from her rich boyfriend Jack Wales (Theo James). But Joe’s cold-blooded ambition and Alice’s detached role as matchmaker are blown apart by something neither she nor Joe can control – their passion for each other.

ROOM AT THE TOP is a powerful triangular love story about a young man who does violence to himself and to those closest to him in pursuit of his ambition. Set in 1940s Yorkshire, John Braine's novel tells the story of a man fighting to shake off his working class origins and enter the bright world of money and influence. It instantly caught the public's imagination when it was published in 1957 and turned Joe Lampton into an icon of post-war Britain.

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