I just got back from the The Crimson Petal and the White (TCPaTW) preview at BAFTA. They showed us the first hour long episode.
The head of BBC2 drama introduced it by saying that this was the first series that had been made as part of a new drive to create quality drama on BBC2, he listed lots of other shows that had been commissioned and talked about how amazing TCPaTW was!
Then it started. I won't put any spoilers in the review but if you want further specifics you can ask me on twitter (@l0islane).
Gillian is featured 4 times, a really small clip a few seconds in and then 3 decent sized scenes, I was really quite surprised at how much she was in it considering her role was originally referred to as a cameo. She plays a hideous old hag with a cockney accent. It was the first time (apart from maybe The Mighty Celt!) when I didn't recognise G's voice at all! It was really strange to hear! She has an amazing huge costume and she spends the whole time with a look on her face that looks like she has sucked vinegar!! Her character spends lots of time cutting out pictures from newspapers and glueing them down...maybe she was a scrapbooker! lol She has a little boy that is pretty much her servant that she orders around and she appears to have a girl servant who just sits behind her permanently playing a musical instrument! She's not exactly evil (although knowing some of the revelations to come my opinion may change!), but she is a mean, manipulative business woman...with a little streak of crazy!
You could think her character is just a bit of fun, but she does have a couple of moments of real emotion. I won't spoil it but there is one point where there is so much going on behind her eyes; I hope they will explore the relationship between her and Sugar a bit further so that we can maybe get more background to what she is feeling.
The drama as a whole was really enjoyable, I much preferred it to Any Human Heart. It's visually gorgeous and has some really interesting characters. It doesn't shy away from the grim reality of life and prostitution in that era and you should probably be prepared for lots of nudity and some visual stuff about the aftermath of sex which you don't normally see on TV!! Its not all just female nudity either, I was surprised just how much you saw of Chris O'Dowd!! That being said, it didn't really feature anything too shocking, there are other scenes which show far less which are far more disturbing....Richard E Grant is a horrible, horrible man!!
There was a Q&A afterwards with the writer, director and Chris O'Dowd. They didn't say anything about Gillian but talked a lot about how little time they had to film (this first episode was filmed in 13 days), the historical background, the sets, the specific cameras that were used (I told you it was full of ppl in the industry!) etc. There were quite a few journalists in the audience, a couple that I recognised, although I couldn't name them, they said it hadn't been screened before so I wonder if perhaps even the press haven't seen it yet.
Well that's about it really, except to say I think people are really going to like this. I went with a fellow G fan and we kept looking at each other and laughing, her character is such a delight to watch and so completely different to anything else she has played.
It is thought the first episode will be shown on March 16th on BBC2
Transmission of the first episode has been postponed. Evidence suggests it should be rescheduled shortly.