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Thursday, August 28, 2003

Books could be written about The Key, a new 3-part serial by Donna Franceschild. Having attended a special preview at BAFTA last night, I believe it will become a classic of television drama. In her introduction the author congratulated the BBC on supporting this project. Somebody from the BBC contacted the author by phone and asked if she would like to do a young girl coming of age story. She responded by saying something to the effect of, "How about if I do a three-part series covering the social and political background and the history of the 20th century, that explains the factors leading up to the story of the girl and her situation?" The producer said, "Ok, leave it with me." (That was the author's jocular paraphrase of the conversation.) The four years consisted of one year to get the go-ahead, one year of research, one year of writing, and one year of production.

The Key is a brilliant portrayal of the effects of politics on ordinary families, and the effect that ordinary people can have on policy when they stand "the gither." That is the accompaniment, the obligado, the orchestra (and there is a beautiful score played by the BBC Concert Orchestra) but the melody is the personal journey of Jessie, one of the two granddaughters, and her sister, played by Ronni Ancona who is about to become a New Labour MP, and in the process is put under pressure to quite literally betray her own grandmother and everything she stood for. Jessie is writing a story called The Key, about her grandmother, who always wore a key as a pendant on her neck. You'll have to watch BBC2 this September to find out why.

The Key (press release - pdf)

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