– AN UNCOMMON TALE OF A COMMON CRISIS
Forty. Just another birthday. Just another year crossed off the calendar. Just another moment in the continuum of time. Or rather it isn’t. The cultural conundrum is that this age - more than any other - has become imbued with an almost mystical significance.
CHANNEL 4’s new three-part drama 40, starring EDDIE IZZARD, JOANNE WHALLEY, KERRY FOX and HUGO SPEER is a drifting, surreal story that takes its audience into a bizarre, tragic and uncomfortable sexual and emotional landscape. It’s a scarred landscape comprising the intimate conjunctions between the disparate, dissonant lives of seven 40 year-olds. Contemporaries born and bred in BRISTOL, the threads of their personal stories, tensions and tangential interconnections inexorably draw together at a disturbing school re-union.
Seemingly self-contained, each episode is just one allusive fragment in a discordant drama that resolves itself in a sequence of challenging personal realisations. Ever-absorbing, never maudlin, but tinged with a sense of loss, this is a fascinating and suspenseful tale of individuals coping with change and the need to re-evaluate the past and the present, and to face an unexpected future.
IZZARD is Ralph Outen: the successful, coke-snorting, enfant terrible of the advertising industry, incapable of coming to terms with his failure to create the relationship he desires with Anita (NIMMY MARSH), and finally dramatically undone by the commercial that he claims is his, but is based on a stolen concept. The devil is in the detail: one oversight is all it takes to fell the modern master of the sexy sell.
Meanwhile, behind the closed doors of Robert’s (HUGO SPEER) and Maggie’s (KERRY FOX) marriage, lies a disordered world of sordid sexual dysfunction that drives towards a shocking and violent conclusion; JOANNE WHALLEY (Jess, married to Ken) is forced to face the cracks in her marriage; whilst the quiet mystery of Gregory’s (MARK BENTON) seemingly unexceptional life slowly, and surprisingly unfolds as the drama evolves.
The team behind this striking production boasts an excellent pedigree. 40 is directed by DAVID MOORE (The Forsyte Saga) and produced by EMMA BURGE (Ella and the Mothers) and STEWART BARLOW (Rose and Maloney). Executive Producers are CHARLIE PATTINSON and GEORGE FABER (The Lakes, North Square, Nicholas Nickleby, White Teeth). The writer of this provocative and explicit work is BRYAN ELSLEY whose credits include The Young Person’s Guide to Becoming A Rock Star, The Crow Road and Nature Boy.
It’s said that life begins at 40, that 40 is the new 30, or that 30-something is a time when people have passed their prime. All or none of which might be true: what 40 presents is a riveting world in which personal complexity denies the simplicity of the clichés of the age.
A Company Pictures production for Channel 4.
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