Vanessa Redgrave and Jim Broadbent join BBC drama

The British actors will star opposite Joanna Vanderham and Lesley Manville in the BBC's remake of The Go-Between

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BBC drama The Go-Between has upped its star power with the addition of Jim Broadbent and Vanessa Redgrave. The British acting veterans will appear opposite Joanna Vanderham (The Paradise) and Lesley Manville (Another Year) in the remake of the 1971 film, based on L.P. Hartley’s 1953 novel. 

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Broadbent – who picked up a Bafta nomination earlier this year for his appearance in BBC1’s The Great Train Robbery – is to play the Older Leo, an elderly man piecing together his childhood memories from a diary written in 1900, back when he was 13 years old. Jack Hollington (Doctor Who: The Time of the Doctor) will play young Leo in the drama adapted by Adrian Hodges (The Musketeers). 

Redgrave is to take on the role of the older Marian who, in her youth, enlisted Leo as her “go-between”. Last year the Oscar-winning actress starred opposite Olivia Colman in BBC2 film The Thirteenth Tale. 

Both Broadbent and Redgrave have a strong connection to Hartley’s work, with the former appearing as an uncredited extra back in 1971 in his first ever film role, alongside Redgrave’s father, Michael, who played the Older Leo. 

“Having been an extra in the first adaptation of The Go-Between in 1971 I was thrilled to be asked to be in this new version,” said Broadbent. “It is a tremendous novel and Adrian Hodges’ script captures it perfectly.”

Hodges added, “First and foremost it’s exciting that we’ve attracted two such brilliant actors to the parts of the older Leo and Marian, but in Vanessa Redgrave and Jim Broadbent it’s also thrilling there is such a strong connection with Joseph Losey’s well-loved film version from 1970.

“Our version of The Go-Between is a very different film for a new generation of viewers, but Vanessa’s appearance will bring back happy memories of the gravity of her father Michael’s performance and it is both lovely and moving to find Jim made his very first appearance in the movie. I couldn’t be more flattered that these great actors are taking on roles that clearly mean a great deal to them.”

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The Go-Between will air on BBC1 next year as part of a season of classic 20th century literature which also includes an adaptation of DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Love (by Line of Duty writer Jed Mercurio), JB Priestley’s An Inspector Calls and Laurie Lee’s Cider With Rosie.