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Susanna White | 2003 | 75 MINS
Dramatisation of the romantic life and professional relationships of the poet Philip Larkin (Hugh Bonneville), from his arrival as librarian at Hull University in 1955 to his death in 1985.

In Detail

Bonneville brings to life the many layers of the complex main character: his prudish mother, his unresolved issues with his father and his inability to commit to one woman. Larkin’s poetry is interlaced throughout, and it is not difficult to see where his attraction lay for the many women who fell in love with him (and who knew about each other, yet continued to see him!). Cerebral, fun-loving, jazz aficionado, loyal friend: it is always more than looks. Women moved beyond the baldness, deafness and short sightedness. And a beautifully nuanced performance by Eileen Atkins as his mum is a bonus.

Hugh Bonneville writes: “I’m really proud of this BBC2 film, which has never been repeated, put on iPlayer, nor released on DVD - so come and see it while you can! We shot it in 12 days, on a shoestring. Deep snow one day, brilliant sunshine the next, just when it mattered, which made it look like we’d filmed in different seasons and had a huge budget. I love the script by Rick Cottan, Susanna White’s direction is pitch perfect and the cast is superb - and it was the second time I got to call Eileen Atkins ‘mother’ (the first being in a BBC adaptation of ‘Madame Bovary’).”

Our thanks to the BBC and the BFI National TV Archive for this screening.

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