Life In Squares (2015)
Monday 10th August 2015
Life In Squares, released on DVD and Blu-ray by BBC Worldwide on 17th August 2015, is an intimate and emotional drama for BBC Two about the revolutionary Bloomsbury group, a collection of friends and lovers who were pioneers of artistic and sexual freedom.
Penned by BAFTA-winning writer Amanda Coe (Room At The Top) and produced by Ecosse Films in association with Tiger Aspect Productions, Life In Squares dramatises the close yet often fraught relationship between painter Vanessa Bell and her sister Virginia Woolf, alongside Vanessa's complicated alliance with gay artist Duncan Grant. Together they, and their group of like-minded friends, navigate their way through love, sex and artistic life in the first half of the 20th century, a time in which they legendarily 'lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles'.
We meet the Stephen sisters in 1905 as Vanessa (Phoebe Fox) and Virginia (Lydia Leonard), struggle to escape the stuffiness of Victorian England. They begin to forge a life of bohemian freedom, in which their friendship with Bloomsbury contemporaries Duncan Grant (James Norton), Lytton Strachey (Ed Birch), Clive Bell (Sam Hoare) and John Maynard Keynes (Edmund Kingsley) looms large. Determined to make the world to their own design, the group suffers growing pains as friendship turns to many kinds of love, in many combinations. But honesty and idealism turn out to be no proof against very human dilemmas of romance, family, work and sex.
In the 1930s, the drama follows the older Vanessa and Virginia (Eve Best and Catherine McCormack), as they settle into marriage and creative success. Despite the beauty of the life Vanessa creates at Charleston farmhouse, Bloomsbury's legacy to the next generation - and in particular to Vanessa and Duncan's daughter Angelica (Lucy Boynton) - is a turbulent one. As war looms once again, Virginia's own mental anguish returns, though her love for her sister never wavers. And Vanessa is forced to confront, through the pain of many losses, the success or failure of her extraordinary experiments in living.
Life In Squares is an Ecosse Films production, in association with Tiger Aspect Productions, commissioned for the BBC by Ben Stephenson and Lucy Richer. Written by Amanda Coe, produced by Rhonda Smith (Fresh Meat, Mistresses), directed by Simon Kaijser (Don't Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves), with executive producers Lucy Bedford, Amanda Coe, Douglas Rae and Lucy Richer. Filming took place on location in London and at Charleston Farmhouse, the group's iconic base in East Sussex.
- None or TBC