Village People; Epic Drama Focuses on the Trials of One Poor Family

Article excerpt

TAKE acclaimed actors John Simm and Maxine Peake, Bafta-winning writer Peter Moffat and director Antonia Bird, and what do you get? The Village, it seems. All are involved in what the Beeb is describing as an epic drama, and after reading the synopsis, you'll see why.

It charts the life and times of people living in one particular Derbyshire village across the majority of the 20th century.

The camera never leaves the place, so major events are seen only through the eyes and experiences of the locals, in particular Bert Middleton, who's just a slip of a lad when we first meet him in 1914.

His family are poverty-stricken farmers John (Simm) and Grace (Peake) who struggle financially; John's desperation and frustration at his plight often spills out into violence, leaving Grace to pick up the pieces as she tries to protect Bert and his elder brother Joe from their father's rage.

"John is the head of the Middleton family, a very poor farming family who have had the farm for generations," says Simm.

"He's got a lot of issues and is carrying around a lot of guilt, which becomes evident (and you find out the reason for this later).

"He is an alcoholic and very unhappy. John loves his wife - needs her, calls her mother, desperately loves her - but beats her as well. He's a walking contradiction. He is a very scary father and husband when we first meet him."

" In the opening episode, the first bus ever to stop in the village arrives. That might not sound particularly exciting, but it brings the beautiful,THE BBC1, headstrong Martha Lane with it - and she's about to turn Bert's world upside down. …