Billie Piper and Sue Johnston to star in A Passionate Woman
Kay Mellor’s play, A Passionate Woman, on BBC One, starring Billie Piper and Sue Johnston, has been adapted into two stories. The first focuses on a mother’s affair in the Fifties and the second is set in the Eighties and looks at the consequences of that affair 30 years on.
A Passionate Woman is a very personal look at the changing role of women over the last 50 years.
Set in Leeds in the Fifties Cold War period, Billie Piper stars as Betty, a young wife and mother who reluctantly falls passionately and hopelessly in love with her charismatic Polish neighbour, Alex Crazenovski, played by Theo James.
But little does Betty know that some 30 years later, in Eighties Britain, her affair will implode on her beloved son Mark’s wedding day.
Andrew Lee Potts plays Mark in the Eighties.
Sue Johnston stars as Betty in the Eighties, opposite Alun Armstrong, who plays her devoted, if dull, husband, Donald. The younger Donald is played by Alun Armstrong’s real-life son, Joe Armstrong, in his first on-screen appearance with his father.
Margaret, Betty’s sister, is always there for her sibling through thick and thin and, in her younger years, aided and abetted Betty’s affair. Frances Barber plays Margaret in the Eighties and Rachel Leskovac plays Margaret in the Fifties.
Kay Mellor, one of Britain’s leading TV writers, has penned numerous hit dramas including The Chase, Fat Friends, Playing The Field and the seminal Band Of Gold. She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in June 2009.
Kay Mellor says: “Mum and I were washing-up one day when she confided in me she’d had an affair before I was born, when she and my dad lived in the poorer area of Leeds. The affair ended when her lover was suddenly killed. I realised she’d kept this secret for 30 years and that she still loved this man.
“Years later, my younger brother was getting married and I saw that same pain on her face. I knew these two periods of mum’s life were intrinsically linked and I was compelled to write the play A Passionate Woman for the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
“Three years ago mum died and I suppose the film is a way of bringing her back for me.”