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Daphne du Maurier
The official Daphne du Maurier website, approved by her Estate

Daphne du Maurier Television programmes showing in the UK this week

BBC FOUR is showing two Daphne du Maurier-related programmes on Wednesday 27th March.  Once the programmes have been broadcast, they will be available on the BBC iPlayer, so you should be able to watch them wherever you are.  

The first programme is the biographical drama Daphne, which will be broadcast at 10.00pm.  This film was first shown on BBC television on Saturday 12th May 2007, as part of Daphne du Maurier's centenary celebration.  Based on part of Margaret Forster's official biography, Daphne du Maurier, the film stars Geraldine Sommerville as Daphne, Elizabeth Mc Govern as Ellen Doubleday and Janet McTeer as Gertrude Lawrence.  Amy Jenkins wrote the screenplay, and the film was produced and directed by Clare Beavan. 

Still from the film Daphne

The biographical film, Daphne


The focus of the drama is solely on the emotionally fraught and yet creatively fertile period of Daphne's life between 1946, when Daphne was faced with attending the Rebecca plagiarism case in New York and met her American publisher's wife, Ellen Doubleday, for the first time, and about 1952, when she wrote The Birds.  

When it was first shown, the film received very mixed views on its suitability as a drama intended to celebrate Daphne's 100th anniversary.  Many people shared the opinions of TV critic Rachel Cooke, whose forthright review was published in the New Statesman.  Here are some of Rachel's thoughts:

The film is a "disgrace".  Cooke said the biopic focused on only one part of the writer's life "her lesbianism".  She also suggested that du Maurier "would have been horrified" at this depiction of her life, arguing that what the novelist "longed for, more than anything, was literary recognition".  Cooke did have kind words for the actors, though, saying, "Geraldine Somerville was exquisitely diffident, Elizabeth McGovern was charming and delicate, and Janet McTeer managed to pull off the great trick of being rapacious and breezy at the same time".

It will be interesting to hear people's views as they watch the film seventeen years on.

The second programme is broadcast straight after Daphne, at 11.30pm and is called Daphne du Maurier talks to Wilfred De'Ath

Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier, from the Wilfred De'Ath interview

This programme was originally shown in 1971 and is a wonderful insight into the life Daphne du Maurier was living, having moved to her final home, Kilmarth and having published her novel, The House on the Strand.  She would also have been in the process of writing Rule Britannia.  Daphne shows Wilfred around the house, pointing out all sorts of exciting treasures and talking about her family and her writing.  She also takes Wilfred out for a walk with her dog, Moray.  It is amusing to see Daphne striding across the fields and young Wilfred, clearly not as fit as her, puffing along behind.  He does, however, do a splendid job of interviewing Daphne, and we learn a lot about her by seeing her in her own home, where she clearly feels comfortable and relaxed.  If you have not seen this interview before, you must watch it.  It makes for fascinating viewing.  

As always, we would be pleased to hear your views on these two programmes, which look at Daphne from two totally different perspectives.  Contact us using the Daphne du Maurier website email address, which you will find at the lower edge of the Home Page.

March 2024

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