A young boy's tur­bu­lent jour­ney into adult­hood

Macclesfield Express - - TVWEEK -

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

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