Catherine Cookson: Rags To Riches

21/08/2006
  |  Buy to Own: 21/08/2006
  |  1091 min
Rated TBC by the BBFC
Catherine Cookson: Rags To Riches Film Poster

Synopsis

Compilation of seven of Catherine Cookson's most popular novels in feature-length TV adaptations. In 'The Girl', Hannah Boyle (Siobhan Flynn), much loved by her father Matthew Thornton (Malcolm Stoddard) is hated by his wife Anne (Jill Baker). When tragedy befalls the Thornton household, Anne exacts her revenge on Hannah who has grown into a beautiful woman by making her marry the local butcher. In 'The Fifteen Streets', in turn-of-the-century Newcastle, dockworker John O'Brien (Owen Teale) falls for Mary Llewellyn (Clare Holman), a shipbuilder's daughter. Their differences in class threaten to break up their relationship, but true love eventually conquers all. In 'Rag Nymph', young Millie Forester (Perdita Weeks) is sent to stay in a convent after her mother dies in a Newcastle brothel and the attentions of the brothel-owner are turned on the girl. However, the lively ten-year-old soon falls foul of the nuns' bigotry and she returns to the care of 'Raggie Aggie' (Val McLane). As a grown-up (Honeysuckle Weeks) and beautiful woman she is exposed to the corrupting influences of the Newcastle streets at the turn of the century and is abducted to the same brothel in which her mother died. 'The Wingless Bird' is set during the First World War and tells the story of 22-year-old Agnes Conway (Claire Skinner), who seems destined to look after her father's sweet shop while her more attractive younger sister garners attention from the local men. However, when her sister becomes pregnant by a working class boy, Agnes discovers skeletons in her father's cupboard. She is swept off her feet when Charles Farrier (Edwards Atterton) proposes to her (against the wishes of his wealthy family), only to fall for his brother Reginald (Julian Wadham) when he returns from the war. 'The Dwelling Place' is set in rural Northumberland during the 1830s. It is the story of Cissie Brodie's struggle to keep her family intact when the sudden death of her parents causes them to be evicted from their cottage. Local carpenter Matthew (Ray Stevenson) helps Cissie (Tracy Whitwell) look after her five brothers, and eventually falls in love with her, but Cissie becomes pregnant after being raped by a local aristocrat. In 'The Glass Virgin', ten-year-old Annabella (Emily Mortimer) lives a life of luxury with her womanising father and the woman she assumes is her mother. When a maid is sacked for calling Annabella a 'little bastard', the secret starts to seep out; she is the daughter of a local prostitute. When Annabella is 17 the truth is finally revealed by her father and she flees the home in search of a new life with her father's young groom, Manuel (Brendan Coyle), as her lover and companion. In 'Tilly Trotter', industrial Tyneside in 1838 is the home of Tilly Trotter (Carli Norris), whose family has fallen into poverty. Tilly does her best to care for her bedridden grandfather, and is visited every month by local farmer Simon Brentwood. This arouses the jealousy and suspicion of the locals, who brand her a witch. Thinking that Brentwood is having an affair with Tilly, the villainous Hal McGrath (Shaun Mechen) decides to have her for himself. Whilst Tilly endures great hardships that life throws at her - working in the coal mines while pining with unrequited love - she ultimately triumphs over her adversities. Finally, Mike Nevill narrates a documentary about Catherine Cookson entitled 'The Storyteller'. Born into poverty in 1906, Catherine's rags-to-riches story reflected those of the many characters she went on to create; she turned to writing at the insistence of her doctor after a period of depression, and went on to become one of England's best-selling writers.

Cast