In "Perfect Strangers" Poliakoff interweaves stories from the past and present and creates a revelatory family drama.
The drama revolves around a grand family gathering. When the Anglo-Jewish Symon dynasty congregate for a huge family reunion at a luxury hotel in London, the event leads to the disinterment of secrets and passions which are buried deep within their shared clan history. It is an emotional and ultimately inspiring tale.
The drama hinges on Daniel (Matthew Macfadyen), the only child of dysfunctional parents from Hillingdon, Raymond and Esther. He is the prism through which we view events. An innocent abroad at the grandiose reunion, he unearths aspects of his family he barely knew existed. Seduced by the glamour of this new world he is encountering, he is recruited as a go-between for his alluring Aunt Alice and his dazzling cousins Rebecca (Claire Skinner) and Charles (Toby Stephens). But the drama becomes even more complex as Daniel's best intentions soon start to go awry.
Matthew Macfadyen ("Warriors") leads a cast which boasts many of Britain's finest actors: BAFTA-winner Michael Gambon ("Wives and Daughters"), Lindsey Duncan and Timothy Spall (both BAFTA-nominees for their performances in Poliakoff's "Shooting the Past"), Claire Skinner ("Life is Sweet", "Second Sight") and Toby Stephens ("The Great Gatsby", "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall"). The cast also features Anton Lesser ("Vanity Fair", "Spencer"), Kelly Hunter ("Close Relations") and Jill Baker ("Fish") as well as three veteran stars of the British acting fraternity, Kathleen Byron, Peter Howell and Muriel Pavlov.
At an elaborately organised reunion, held in a grand London hotel, Raymond (Michael Gambon), his wife Esther (Jill Baker) and their son, Daniel, find themselves irresistably drawn into their family. Meeting distant and not-so-ditant relatives for the first time, they begin to establish their positions within this richly varied family. Acting as their guide is Stephen, the self-appointed "pedigree hunter" and archivist, who unravels their entwined stories to make sense of their personal histories. His extraordinary collection of family photographs sets off a series of discoveries, which are both mysterious and disturbing.
"Daniel is the lynchpin of the whole drama," explains Matthew Macfadyen. "He is like the audience, you see most things from his point of view. He's the eye of the story. He is not considered or knowing. Without being wet or a fool, he's not entirely switched on."
This drama follows the success of Poliakoff's multi-award-winning drama for BBC2 "Shooting the Past", which won many accolades including The Royal Society of Television Award for Drama and the Prix Italia for Fiction. Helen Flint is the line producer with David M. Thompson (BBC) and Peter Fincham (TalkBack) production for BBC Two via BBC Films and Single Drama, produced by John Chapman.
Running Time: 90 minutes (approx)
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