Notes on a scan­dal

Lov­ing Miss Hatto , BBC 1, 8.30pm

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Sunday -

much greater am­bi­tions. Bar­rie want to be­come an im­pre­sario and isn’t pre­pared to let any­one stand in his way.

The first piece of the jig­saw falls into place while he is de­liv­er­ing mu­sic to an orches­tra re­hearsal. Bar­rie is bowled over by a young pi­anist’s play­ing – find­ing his first client, wife and fu­ture in one moment. The young pi­anist is Joyce Hatto, played by Maimie McCoy.

Hav­ing found his prodigy and the love of his life, Bar­rie sets about turn­ing Joyce into a clas­si­cal mu­sic star. Ini­tially things go well but then fate in­ter­venes. Ul­ti­mately they cou­ple re­alise that they both lack what it takes to really make it. Dispir­ited they de­cide to re­tire to Hert­ford­shire and a “nor­mal” life.

That should have been that. How­ever, fast for­ward a few decades to 2002 and thanks to a lit­tle serendip­ity, Bar­rie (Al­fred Molina) is given the op­por­tu­nity to re­vive Joyce’s (Francesca An­nis) ca­reer. By now, his wife is in her 70s and suf­fer­ing from ter­mi­nal can­cer, but hav­ing been given a sec­ond chance to ful­fil his dreams, Bar­rie grabs it with both hands.

Within a few years, Joyce is be­ing dubbed “the great­est liv­ing pi­anist that al­most no one has ever heard of” and has crit­ics rav­ing about her sub­lime record­ings. When she died in 2006, obit­u­ary writ­ers heaped praise on her mu­si­cal tal­ent.

How­ever, it wasn’t long be­fore doubts be­gan to emerge. Six months af­ter her death, the ed­i­tor of Gramo­phone mag­a­zine James In­verne com­mis­sioned au­dio ex­pert An­drew Rose to in­ves­ti­gate. He dis­cov­ered that all the record­ings at­trib­uted to Hatto were in fact copies or dig­i­tally ma­nip­u­lated ver­sions of work by other artists. While Bar­ring­ton-Coupe ad­mit­ted the de­cep­tion, he re­mained un­re­pen­tant, telling one re­porter “I don’t con­sider I’ve hurt any­body.”

Joyce and Bar­rie had ap­par­ently pulled off the great­est hoax in the his­tory of clas­si­cal mu­sic and they have also pro­vided Wood with some great source ma­te­rial.


LOVE AND FRAUD: Maimie McCoy as the young Joyce Hatto in Vic­to­ria Wood’s drama.

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