Jack Davenport and Company leave us Breathless in delightful ensemble drama

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*Set before the swinging sixties when Britain was still constrained by convention, the ensemble drama stars Jack Davenport, Zoe Boyle (Downton Abbey), Catherine Steadman (The Tudors), Iain Glen (Game of Thrones) and Joanna Page (Gavin and Stacey).

The story centers around the complicated personal and professional lives of hospital staff in a London on the brink of the sexual revolution in 1961. It’s a pre-Beatles Britain, where the pill hasn’t been introduced yet, abortion is outlawed and it’s illegal to be gay. The political perspective made it palatable for both Unwin and Davenport. “I don’t actually like period drama,” admitted Unwin, while Davenport diagnoses himself as “allergic” to medical procedurals.  “We worked really hard for it to not look like a traditional period drama,” Unwin told The Hollywood Reporter. “We really wanted it to feel funkier, brighter, more colorful and sharper than the slightly dourer outlook of that period we are used to seeing. We tried to invent something that is a period drama but doesn’t necessarily feel like one.”

Davenport praises Unwin for turning out Pinteresque scripts with little dialogue but lots of wiggle room. “Where most writers tend to use seven words, Paul tends to use three, which is really liberating. This is a very controlled, clipped and stratified world, and yet they’re still human beings. From the get-go, it’s clear that what’s unsaid is as important as what is said, if not more so.”

The clothes, however, are a different story. “Truthfully, you start dressing yourself up in that stuff and suddenly your physicality is taken care of, whether you like it or not.”  While sure to draw comparisons to Mad Men starting from the opening credits to Boyle’s social-climbing sexpot redhead to the impeccable costumes and sets, the six-episode ITV Studios and Masterpiece co-production sets out to shatter the world.

See the Trailer Here :

Breathless is a six parter and airs Thursdays from 10th October on ITV1 in the UK

*Courtesy The Hollywood Reporter

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