The princess and the peo­ple

Inside Soap - - INSIDE TV -

DIANA AND I | BBC2 9PM

This one-off drama ex­plores the af­ter­math of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales – but rather than re­tread old ground by fo­cus­ing on the Royal Fam­ily, it ex­am­ines how four or­di­nary peo­ple re­sponded to the news.

One story in­volves Yas­min (Ki­ran So­nia Sawar), who finds es­cape from an un­happy mar­riage in the rolling news cov­er­age – but when her tele­vi­sion is re­pos­sessed, she de­cides to take her daugh­ter on a pil­grim­age to Lon­don.

“She’s quite an in­tro­verted char­ac­ter and quite lonely,” re­veals Ki­ran. “Once she hears the news of Princess Diana’s death, it acts as a sort of cat­a­lyst and sparks some­thing within her to go on a jour­ney of self-dis­cov­ery.”

An­other strand of the story con­cerns a 19-year-old lad called Jack (Nico Mi­ral­le­gro), whose mother dies the same night as Diana and he finds him­self griev­ing for both of them. Es­tranged from his fa­ther (Neil Mor­ris­sey), he reaches out to his neigh­bour Rus­sell (Kings­ley Ben-adir) for help.

“He comes to Jack to help him find flow­ers for his mother’s fu­neral, be­cause ev­ery­one has run out – Diana’s taken them all,” ex­plains Kings­ley. “I play a bit of an arty, hippy, weed-smok­ing sort of char­ac­ter, so they make their own flow­ers – they go on this jour­ney to find pa­per and sticks and Sel­lotape, and make all these beau­ti­ful ar­range­ments.”

Not ev­ery char­ac­ter is over­come by sad­ness, though – for florist Mary (Tam­sin Greig), Diana’s death is an op­por­tu­nity to raise much-needed funds for her­self and her mother (Gemma Jones), who has Alzheimer’s, by sell­ing lots of flow­ers in Lon­don be­fore the fu­neral.

“They wanted a char­ac­ter who would be pleased about the news of a royal death,” shares Tam­sin. “They’re not roy­al­ists, they’re dis­con­nected from that royal story, but then there’s the eu­reka mo­ment where you think, ‘We can make some money out of this, it can be use­ful’ – her plan doesn’t work, but a new trea­sure is re­vealed…”

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