Notes on a scandal
Loving Miss Hatto , BBC 1, 8.30pm
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.