We'll Take Manhattan

We'll Take Manhattan


The latest of BBC4’s crisp, high-concept tales of great moments in pop culture comes to us from 1962. It’s a time that TV loves (Mad Men, Pan Am), the very moment when the Sixties revolution sparked, ready to blow away the old world of privilege and prissy rules. And it’s an art director’s dream.

Our revolutionaries in this case are photographer David Bailey and his muse-mistress Jean Shrimpton, a pair of parvenus who stumble into the orbit of Vogue magazine, where the models are generally titled and holding teacups. Given an assignment in New York, for the magazine’s Young Ideas feature, Bailey rips up the rule book, shoots from the hip and starts a running battle with the snobby fashion editor.

The drama is pre-baked and the dice all loaded: we know who wins this culture war. But Aneurin Barnard makes Bailey’s chippy genius brilliantly believable (“Spread ’em, would ya?”). And if anybody could do Shrimpton, it’s Karen Gillan.


Drama, based on the story of David Bailey's 1962 photoshoot in Manhattan with model Jean Shrimpton. Against the wishes of his editor at British Vogue, Bailey disregards the conventions of contemporary fashion photography and sets out to create distinctive, original images. During the course of a week in New York, both he and his muse accidentally change the course of their lives, as well as the world of fashion. Drama, starring Karen Gillan, Aneurin Barnard and Helen McCrory.

Cast & Crew

David Bailey Aneurin Barnard
Jean Shrimpton Karen Gillan
Lady Clare Rendlesham Helen McCrory
Director John McKay
Producer Rebecca Hodgson
Writer John McKay
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