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Coming Soon… Poppy Shakespeare, Channel 4

By Paul Hirons on February 22nd, 2008 3 comments


Now this looks good. And potentially really rather great, although it’s difficult to tell exactly how good/great something will be without actually seeing it. I know this is something that you’re all aware of, and that I’m talking toss again. But, y’know, it’s Friday, I’ve just watched a clip from Vanity Lair, so I think I’m allowed to talk nonsense for a minute. So Poppy Shakespeare… starring the monumentally brilliant Anna Maxwell Martin from Bleak House (I think I’m a teeny bit in love with her, to be honest) it’s based on the prize-shortlisted novel by Clare Allen.

It’s based in a day hospital in north London called the Dorothy Fish. N (AMM) has been a patient there for 13 years, and her chief ambition is to never get discharged. She spends her days smoking fags in the common room, swaps medication and acts unstable enough for them to keep her in there. Things change when Poppy Shakespeare walks in.

Poppy Shakespeare. In her heels and super-short skirt. Poppy Shakespeare who is convinced she’s not mad and is desperate to return to the world outside. N can’t figure her or this attitude out, but agrees to help her regain freedom.

If anyone’s read the book, give us a shout and let us know whether you think this is a golden gasser or not. From this end, it looks like a cross between One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest crossed with Sugar Rush and Morvern Caller. With Anna Maxwell Martin in it.

Sounds like a good book… let’s hope it’ll be a super-good TV adaptation (it’s a one-off job). We’re off to the press launch of this, so we’ll report when we can.

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  • Jess

    It’s a really excellent book. Funny and often coupled with ridiculous imagery, it makes some good points about the mental health system that are all too true as well.

    How would I describe it? Imagine one flew over the cuckoos nest on acid?

  • Harvey Blear

    I actually appear in the Poppy Shakespeare film as an extra. Although I maybe biased, this is well worth watching. It shows the failings of the mental health system and the development in relationships between patients and staff. There’s quite a bit of foul language in it, but plenty humour to keep you amused :o)

  • lesley harris

    What was the point of this programme? So if what you say is true – it shows the failure of the mental health system we can only despair.
    After watching this I am now thoroughly depressed and have been snapping at my family.
    Is there any hope, any pleasure in life? We might as well all give up now.


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