DRAMA SERIAL 4 X 60 MINS
With his manic-depressive mother dying of cancer, new father Matthew Gold undertakes a desperate eleventh-hour quest to make her last days a little less wretched. Along the way, he discovers a web of secrets, lies and half-truths and learns more about his mother- and himself- than he bargained for.
London, 1956. Cranes loom through the smog and smoke above the vast holes left by the bombs and V2s. Young people, angry with the grey-trousered generation that actually fought the war, watch Skiffle groups while nursing cappuccinos at gingham-covered tables in Soho’s cafés. Into this new era heaving with change and promise steps Ruth Lane, (18) wide-eyed, fresh from far-flung New Zealand and itching to make her mark on the world. But the brightness of her future is immediately extinguished as, besieged by burgeoning manic depression, she makes a series of crippling choices, ending in a doomed love affair with a famous poet, an unwanted pregnancy, attempted suicide, and ultimately, confinement.
We rollercoaster with her through the swinging 60’s, the me 70’s, the deadly 80’s and beyond, as alcoholism, betrayal and a failed marriage pack her Pandora’s box with demons. By the time she grinds to a halt in a psychiatric hospital in South London in 2001, the box is ready to burst.
New York, 2001. Ruth’s son Matthew, (38) a sleep-deprived new dad, lives in a tiny one-bedroom flat, as far from his mother and her problems as possible. Juggling the needs of his growing family with the demands of his job at a deadly dull political talk show, he is blackjacked by Ruth when she rings with big news, so big in fact she simply has to tell him in person. Incapable of saying no, and in the midst of a row with his wife about his interfering in-laws, he abandons his family when they need him most and jets across the pond. Once there, Ruth confesses that in 1957, when unmarried women who had children were labeled ‘moral imbeciles’, she had a baby she gave up for adoption. The guilt has ravaged her ever since and contextualizes the years of madness, alcoholism and chronic illness.
However, the shocking revelation is only the beginning of Matthew’s troubles. After he returns to New York, Ruth goes downhill rapidly. A nagging infection leads to a terminal diagnosis and a frantic, end-of-life request: find my long-lost daughter so I can make peace with her before I go. Still emotionally chained to his mother’s difficulties and struggling to hang onto his marriage and his job, Matthew battles bureaucracies, his overbearing in-laws and the trials of new fatherhood, finally tracking down his half-sister’s adoptive parents in a village in Wales. When a harebrained attempt at forcing them to meet with him ends in his arrest, he discovers a searing truth that reveals as much about his own life as it does Ruth’s.
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