ITVX drama The Confessions of Frannie Langton is finally getting a terrestrial broadcast this week, introducing a new wave of audiences to its gripping romantic drama.
The story follows a Jamaican woman who arrives in London to work in the house of a wealthy couple, but unexpectedly strikes up a romance with the lady of the house.
The series is based on the novel of the same name by Sara Collins, who had a big role to play in crafting this adaptation, saying in a statement that she sought to shatter period drama clichés while still acknowledging the reality of the time.
"When I was offered the chance to adapt my novel The Confessions of Frannie Langton for television, I knew straight away that I didn’t want to write yet another period drama where the only thing that happens to the black characters is slavery," she explained.
"My life-long irritation with the depiction of black characters in historical fiction as nothing but victims of that institution was the reason I’d written the novel in the first place.
"But I also wanted to avoid the sort of colour-blind fantasy about interracial romance that seems to be in vogue nowadays – deliciously anachronistic, but occasionally guilty of indulging the audience’s self-serving reasons for pretending slavery never happened at all."
Collins added: "Instead, I wanted to dramatise a passionate love affair between a black woman and her white mistress in Regency London. We’ve been led to assume this kind of thing would never have happened, which is precisely why it’s the story I wanted to tell."
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Karla-Simone Spence plays Frannie Langton
Who is Frannie Langton? Frannie is a young woman who was enslaved in her home country of Jamaica by the colonising British regime. She is moved to London to serve in the home of a wealthy couple, where she unexpectedly finds love.
What else has Karla-Simone Spence been in? Spence is best known for her roles in 2019 musical crime drama Blue Story and BBC One's romantic thriller Gold Digger.
Sophie Cookson plays Madame Marguerite Benham
Who is Madame Marguerite Benham? Madame Benham is the lady of the residence where Frannie works. She is trapped in a loveless marriage, which has driven her to various affairs and even an opium addiction. She also finds some relief in the pages of her favourite novels, which herself and fellow bookworm Frannie bond over.
What else has Sophie Cookson been in? Cookson rose to stardom in the action-packed Kingsman films, playing high-performing spy Roxy Morton (aka Lancelot) in the first entry and its 2017 sequel. Other film projects include Judi Dench's Red Joan, Steve Coogan's Greed and, most recently, Mark Wahlberg's Infinite. On the small screen, she played the title role in BBC One's factual drama The Trial of Christine Keeler.
Stephen Campbell Moore plays George Benham
Who is George Benham? George is Marguerite's cold and arrogant husband, whose lavish wealth has been built on the slave trade. Using his high social standing, he seeks to ensure that the evil business continues.
What else has Stephen Campbell Moore been in? Moore's film credits include Johnny English Reborn, The Lady in the Van, Goodbye Christopher Robin and Downton Abbey. You might also recognise him from television appearances in FOX's War of the Worlds, Netflix's The One and BBC Two's The Wrong Mans.
Patrick Martins plays Olaudah 'Laddie' Cambridge
Who is Laddie? Laddie was taken from his mother when he was only a young child and given to Madame Benham to be a pageboy. Now, he earns a living as a boxer, but is secretly plotting against the sinister George Benham.
What else has Patrick Martins been in? Martins played the recurring role of Luke Byrne in Irish drama series Redemption.
Pooky Quesnel plays Linux
Who is Linux? Linux is George's housekeeper, who shares his racist views and thus instantly dislikes Frannie upon her arrival. She is also not fond of Madame Benham, so seeing the two of them become close will get her temper flaring.
What else has Pooky Quesnell been in? Quesnell is known for playing Louise Wilson in family drama The A Word and its spin-off Ralph & Katie. She has also appeared in W1A, Waterloo Road and 2010's Doctor Who festive special A Christmas Carol.
Amarah-Jae St Aubyn plays Sal
Who is Sal? Sal is a close friend to Frannie, who saves her from having to live on the streets.
What else has Amarah-Jae St Aubyn beeen in? St Aubyn earned much acclaim for her moving debut screen performance in Barry Jenkins's Small Axe feature film Lovers Rock. She will next be seen in Prime Video's upcoming Neil Gaiman adaptation Anansi Boys.
Jodhi May plays Hephzibah 'Hep' Elliot
Who is Hep Elliott? Hep is opposed to slavery but complicit in its practice, having become financially dependent on handouts from her cousin, George Benham. She is also hiding romantic feelings for his wife.
What else has Jodhi May been in? May has previously appeared in period drama Gentleman Jack, Netflix fantasy epic The Witcher, and Barry Jenkins's Small Axe: Mangrove. She'll next be seen in sci-fi spin-off Dune: The Sisterhood.
Steven Mackintosh plays John Langton
Who is John Langton? Langton is another cruel slave trader, who subjects people to inhumane experiments.
What else has Steven Mackintosh been in? Mackintosh's recent television gigs include Wanderlust, Soulmates, The Pact and Dalgliesh. He is also known for film roles in the Underworld franchise and Elton John biopic Rocketman.
The Confessions of Frannie Langton premieres at 9pm on ITV1 on Monday 21st August 2023. Stream on ITVX. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.
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