Man in an Orange Shirt forms part of the BBC’s Gay Britannia season – a programme of content to mark the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
The two-parter follows two male couples – one living in the 1940s and another in the present day – sharing a strong bond despite occupying different generations. Meet the cast below…
Michael Berryman – Oliver Jackson-Cohen
Orphaned Michael is a captain in the British Armed Forces during the Second World War and – after leaving the army – is expected to marry his childhood sweetheart Flora. But he’s long hidden his desire towards other men… that is, until he meets Thomas March, a war artist who is attached to Michael’s regiment. The time they spend in one another’s company releases a longing in Michael that is at odds with the conformist life he had expected to lead.
Who is Oliver Jackson-Cohen?
Jackson-Cohen has made his mark in a number of British TV dramas, from roles as Roddy the painter in Mr Selfridge to James, Duke of York, in ITV’s The Great Fire. He’s also popped up in Dracula and The Secret River and played the lead in NBC’s Emerald City, although the series was cancelled earlier this year after one season.
Thomas March – James McArdle
War artist Thomas was rescued by his regiment’s captain, Michael, during the Second World War where the two formed a bond that they couldn’t ignore once fighting had ceased. But while Michael tracks him down after the war, Thomas finds that – despite their mutual attraction – Michael still intends to marry and comply with what’s expected of him.
Who is James McArdle?
James McArdle played Charlie McCallister in ITV series Love & Marriage and Alec in 37 Days. He has also appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and recently took to the stage in Angels in America.
Flora Talbot – Joanna Vanderham
Flora is the childhood sweetheart of Michael Berryman and spends the war working in an evacuated boys’ boarding school in Shropshire. The pair marry on his return from the war and Flora becomes pregnant, but she soon finds out there is more to her husband than meets the eye, namely his connection with another man – a discovery that turns her world upside down.
Who is Joanna Vanderham?
Joanna Vanderham first came to attention playing Cathy in Sky drama The Runaway and has gone on to appear in Dancing on the Edge, The Paradise and One of Us.
Flora Talbot (2017) – Vanessa Redgrave
Now widowed, Flora still leads a busy life, but the one person she holds dear is her grandson Adam who lives in her basement flat. She dotes on him and the pair share weekly suppers – but when Adam begins a relationship with a man, all Flora’s old prejudices bubble back to the surface and her torment threatens the happiness of the person she cares about most.
Who is Vanessa Redgrave?
Vanessa Redgrave is a giant of stage and screen, appearing in more than 35 productions on West End and Broadway as well as a string of films, from Howard’s End to The Bostonians to Mrs Dalloway. She won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for 1977’s Julia.
Lucien – Adrian Schiller
Lucien is Thomas’s bohemian landlord. When Thomas is imprisoned for his sexuality, it is Lucien who tracks down Michael – the man who means the most to his friend.
Who is Adrian Schiller?
Adrian Schiller has had a lengthy career on screen, most recently appearing in Victoria as Penge and in Beauty and the Beast as Monsieur D’arque.
Daphne Talbot – Laura Carmichael
Daphne lost her husband during the war and leads a colourful dating life which she happily regales to sister Flora. Working at a London auction house in the late 1940s, she has plenty of tales – but remains unaware of her sibling’s marital misery.
Who is Laura Carmichael?
Laura Carmichael is recognisable around the globe as Lady Edith Crawley in ITV period drama Downton Abbey. Since the series ended in 2015, she’s cropped up in Marcella and A United Kingdom and has trodden the boards at Trafalgar Studios in The Maids.
Mrs March – Frances de la Tour
Mrs March knows all about her son’s sexuality and is called upon by Michael while Thomas is in prison. Her home serves as a shrine to her and her husband’s acting careers as well as her son’s art.
Who is Frances de la Tour?
A staple of British film and television, Frances de la Tour is known for a string of major roles, from Rising Damp to Cold Lazarus to the Harry Potter films in which she played Madame Olympe Maxime. She won a Tony award for her part in The History Boys, a role she resumed in the feature film version in 2006.