Multi-talented Jane Horrocks (Absolutely Fabulous, The Amazing Mrs Pritchard,) appears in the BBC telemovie Gracie!, playing UK singer Gracie Fields during World War II. This screenplay is written by her long-term partner Nick Vivian. It depicts her relationship with the Italian-born director Monty Banks ( Tom Hollander).
Horrocks was particularly memorable in Little Voice, which displayed her singing and acting skills. Should be one to watch out for.
Gracie Fields (Jane Horrocks) was Britain’s darling – the singing, funny, working-class film star whose boundless energy, roguish cheerfulness and ironic songs symbolised the spirit of 1930s England. When she fell ill in 1939, her popularity was such that the streets outside the hospital had to be lined with straw as the milling crowd’s footsteps disturbed the other patients.
This film begins at the height of Gracie’s fame. After nearly dying following an operation and three-day coma, Gracie awakes. Hollywood director Monty Banks (Tom Hollander), who has directed her in her most successful films, is at her bedside. Told by doctors that she must take a break, Gracie books a holiday to Capri and asks Monty to come with her.
But on the day she and Monty are due to leave, the Second World War breaks out. Ill, exhausted, but as enthusiastic as ever, Gracie volunteers to do her duty to her fans and country, touring France, singing to the troops to raise money to pay for Spitfires, leaving Monty trailing in her wake.
When Monty finally plucks up the courage to ask Gracie to marry him, it should mark the start of the rest of their lives together. But then Italy declares support for Germany, making Italian Monty the enemy. Gracie must choose between loyalty to her husband and loyalty to her country.
Starring the internationally renowned Jane Horrocks as the singing, laughing, heart-breaking Gracie Fields, this is a romantic comedy steeped in warm wit, dramatic dilemma-filled emotion and vivacious, irrepressible energy.
It airs 8:30pm Sunday August 29th on ABC1.