Our exclusive pictures show Joanna Vanderham, 23, as the beautiful and pros and cons of dating an ex convict Marian Maudsley in the BBC’s eagerly awaited adaptation of The Go-Between. She played a put-upon shop girl in The Paradise and was transported to an Australian penal colony in Banished. But now rising star Joanna Vanderham has been transformed out of all recognition for her new starring role as a high society femme fatale. Our exclusive pictures show Joanna, 23, as the beautiful and beguiling Marian Maudsley in the BBC’s eagerly awaited adaptation of The Go-Between.
It is the first adaptation of L . Hartley’s classic 1953 novel since the 1971 movie version, which starred big screen legends Julie Christie and Alan Bates as the illicit lovers and Dominic Guard as the boy whose life is transformed forever when he finds himself tangled up in their affair. Adrian Hodges, who has written the new version for BBC One, accepts that Joanna and her co-star Ben Batt, who plays Ted Burgess, will be compared to both Christie and Bates but he is confident that the new adaptation will stand on its own merit. He said: ‘Like the whole of the rest of the world I fell in love with Julie Christie when I saw the original film. But I hope the performances of Joanna and Ben will be judged fairly and differently. Nobody is ever going to erase the memory of Julie Christie and Alan Bates and no one is trying to. But Jo’s performance is striking.
Of course, Marian has to be beautiful and charming and capricious, but she is also a survivor who manipulates Leo to get what she wants. We didn’t want someone in the role who is a waif and a victim and Joanna has got the beauty, the determination and a streak of strength in her. The Go-Between, which is a story of love across the social divide and the loss of teenage innocence, includes the opening line: ‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there. It begins in 1900 and tells the story of a young boy called Leo Colston who agrees to spend a summer holiday in Norfolk with the wealthy Maudsley family.
Leo, who is from a humble background, immediately feels out of his depth but his position becomes even more complicated when he agrees to exchange love letters between Marian and her secret lover Ted, a tenant farmer. Leo, who is drawn to both Marian and Ted, has no real idea of what he is being asked to do until the couple’s affair spirals out of control and ends up transforming the lives of everyone involved. Hodges said his new film, co-starring Vanessa Redgrave as the older Marian, Jim Broadbent and Lesley Manville, was an adaptation of the novel rather than the Joseph Losey film, which co-starred Redgrave’s father Michael and which is now regarded as one of the best British films ever made. He said: ‘I am absolutely adapting the book.
You can’t worry about other people’s films. Hodges said he was in no doubt that the central themes of the novel would resonate with a modern audience. He said: ‘I think anyone can see this as a story which has contemporary relevance. There are certain things that never go away such as the things that you don’t tell your children. The things you keep secret.