Horrocks and Duff to star in new BBC4 biopics

BBC4 has commissioned biopics of Gracie Fields and Margot Fonteyn, which will star Jane Horrocks and Anne-Marie Duff respectively.

Horrocks will take the lead in Gracie!, described by BBC4 as a romantic comedy about the singer and comedienne from Rochdale who rose to fame in the thirties.

Beginning at the peak of her career, the one-off film will look at the repercussions of her relationship with Italian-born Hollywood director Monty Banks.

In the drama, Horrocks will sing a repertoire of Fields’s songs, including Sally, Sing As We Go and I Never Cried So Much In All My Life.

It is being directed by Brian Percival, whose other credits include Ruby In The Smoke.

Meanwhile, Duff will star in Margot, written by Amanda Coe, who penned Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story.

Partly based on Meredith Daneman’s biography of Fonteyn, the 90-minute drama will explore Margot’s dancing partnership and relationship with Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev.

Margot is being made by Mammoth Screen, the company behind ITV’s Lost in Austen.

Both dramas will run in a season that will also include a biopic on the author Enid Blyton, starring Helena Bonham Carter.

Richard Klein, BBC4 controller, said: “These films are sympathetic but frank dramatisations of women in the spotlight and how their backstage lives play out. Once again BBC4 is championing strong dramas that seek to give insight into some of Britain’s most famous artists, reflecting complex lives, conflicting pressures and very human behaviour.”

BBC controller of drama commissioning Ben Stephenson added that the season of dramas “brings together some of the country’s best actresses, writers and directors”.

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