A young boy's turbulent journey into adulthood
It may seem an odd thing to say, but it can take a long time to achieve overnight success. Sadie Jones worked as a waitress in Paris while trying to get her literary career off the ground. She penned four unproduced scripts and a play, before her novel The Outcast was snapped up by a publisher. In 2008, it won the First Novel prize at the Costa Book Awards, and was a resounding hit with critics and fans alike. She’s published two more tomes since then – Small Wars and The Uninvited Guests – but it’s an adaptation of her debut book that hits our screens this week in The Outcast (BBC One, 9pm). “It was originally developed as a feature film but because of the structure, creatively and practically, it worked out better to make it as two parts for television,” says Jones, who has penned the screenplay herself. “Then once we had the director, Iain Softley, involved it was plain sailing. “I think making that move to television was the best thing for it. I actually originally wrote it as a screenplay before it was a book and I was always aware that I was trying to shoehorn in a back story to make it the right length for two hours. So once it was allowed to breathe, I could tell the story better.” Set in the 1950s, it focuses on young Lewis Aldridge, who is left distraught by the death of his beloved mother. Forced to suppress his grief by an emotionally distant father, he becomes self-destructive until his emotional turmoil reaches boiling point – resulting in an explosive act of defiance. Lewis is then marginalised by society, although the love of a girl may save him – and allow him to expose the darkness lurking beneath the façade of a pictureperfect village. The drama stars George McKay as the teenage Lewis, and while he will be unfamiliar to some viewers, his co-stars will be more recognisable – Greg Wise, Jessica Brown Findlay and Nathaniel Parker. Jones’ father, Evan, was a scriptwriter – his most famous works include Escape to Victory, Funeral in Berlin and King and Country – so she is probably accustomed to being around the filming process. Nevertheless, she still loved every minute of being on set. “As a writer your strange little world is in your head, so seeing that world actually created in front of you is unbelievably thrilling,” she grins. “The locations were amazing because it was like stepping into your own imagination, it was a dream.
Rebel with a cause George Mackay stars in the drama