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Dramatised from Sarah Waters' acclaimed debut novel, "Tipping the Velvet" tells the story of Nancy Astley (Rachael Stirling), a young girl who works as cook and waitress in her Father's seaside restaurant - that is until she witnesses the extraordinary performance of a new-to-town male impersonator - Kitty Butler (Keeley Hawes) - and begins to undergo a complete life transformation. Suddenly whipped up - and quickly flung down - by her love affair with Kitty, she experiences both euphoria and deep disillusion as she embarks on a seven-year journey of self-discovery - finally realizing that a life of sensation just isn't enough. Written by
I saw the series - all three episodes back to back - when it was re-broadcast by the BBC just before Christmas, and it held me spellbound. Since then I've watched the DVD at least half a dozen times. A subject that could so easily have drifted into melodrama has become an enchanting classic . The direction oozes class, particularly in the scenes of Nan and Kitty's stage rehearsals, the music has a haunting charm, and the acting is mostly glorious (Alexei Sayle was clearly only in it to show how good the rest of the cast was),. It's Andrew Davies's masterpiece.
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