Mammoth Screen secure commission for Margot A provocative film for BBC Four about the life of the UK’s most famous ballet dancer: Dame Margot Fonteyn

Press Release May 22, 2009

London, Friday 22 May 2009: Leading UK Indie Mammoth Screen has been commissioned by BBC Four to make Margot, a film partly based on Meredith Daneman’s biography of Dame Margot Fonteyn.

Anne-Marie Duff (Is Anybody There; Born Equal; The Virgin Queen) will play Margot in the 90 minute drama, part of BBC Four’s season of one-off films about the artistic careers of British female icons.

The drama explores Margot’s dancing partnership and complex relationship with Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev. When they met, Margot was in her 40s and married to philandering Panamanian diplomat Roberto ‘Tito’ Arias. It was widely expected that she would retire from the world of ballet, but instead her collaboration with Nureyev propelled them both to international stardom. After Tito was shot and left paralysed from the waist down Margot continued to dance, only retiring 17 years after she first met Nureyev.

The screenplay is written by Amanda Coe who wrote BBC Four’s award winning Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story, and will be an executive producer on the project.

Coe says: “To a little girl fascinated by ballet like I was, Margot Fonteyn seemed more regal than a member of the royal family; a perfectly graceful icon who personified all the elegant and remote qualities of the ballet world. It was a revelation to discover that this persona was every bit as much a part of her discipline and artistry as the roles she played on stage.”

Damien Timmer joint MD of mammoth Screen says; “Fonteyn’s life was filled with drama and passion both on and off the stage and this is thrillingly captured by writer Amanda Coe. It’s a great coup to have Anne-Marie Duff and Otto Bathurst on board to realise this brilliant script.

Michele Buck, Joint MD of mammoth Screen added; “Margot is a fantastic addition to the Mammoth Screen portfolio, confirming our commitment to making distinctive, highly authored drama. We look forward to bringing Dame Margot Fonteyn’s magnificent and moving story to life.”

Filming in and around London in June 2009, Margot has been commissioned by the Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, Ben Stephenson. It will be directed by Otto Bathurst who helmed the BBC’s BAFTA winning Criminal Justice. Mammoth Screen’s Creative Director, Rebecca Keane, developed the project and Mammoth Screen MDs, Michele Buck (Sex Traffic, Ballet Shoes) and Damien Timmer (Housewife 49, Lost in Austen), will executive produce. Celia Duval (Red Riding, Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk to Finchley) is producing.

The commission for Margot follows Mammoth Screen’s recent success with Lost in Austen, ITV1’s bold reinvention of Pride and Prejudice. Mammoth Screen’s version of Emily Bronte’s classic, Wuthering Heights, will be transmitted on ITV1 later this year, starring Tom Hardy as Heathcliff.

Buck and Timmer are also executive producing The Prisoner starring Jim Caviezel and Sir Ian McKellen for ITV Studios and US channel, AMC.

For further information please contact:
Christina Joyce, Premier PR
020 7292 8352