Capturing Mary was broadcast on BBC TWO during the Autumn of 2007, part of two new dramas written by Stephen Poliakoff. This film both works as the second part to Joe’s Palace, Poliakoff’s other 2007 drama, and as a standalone film.
Joe, a young man paid to mind a grand old house in central London, opens the door to Maggie Smith. Well, not Maggie Smith exactly, but May, an elderly woman who has history with the old house and a certain gentleman she met there – Greville. This man assaults her, not physically or sexually, but psychologically, by telling her terrible secrets and inviting her to share his disturbing way of life. She refuses, unnerved by his manner. This decision leads to him damaging her professionally (being a journalist, all doors to major publications suddenly close to her) and haunts her throughout her life. This story unfolds in flashback through the elderly Mary’s narration, as she walks through the house with Joe.
It’s a beautiful film, with some stunning performances the most suprising coming from David Walliams, who impresses as the sinister Greville, a part that is as different as you can get to the usually crude and repulsive characters he plays in the dreadful Little Britain – a fest of lewd, stupid and genuinely nasty humour. However, the past crimes of Walliams aside, he is not the only magnificent star turn in this. Both Ruth Wilson and Maggie Smith are superb, and there are also a few creepy little appearances by Gemma Arterton.
Capturing Mary (2007), directed by Stephen Poliakoff, is released on DVD in the UK by 2 Entertain, part of BBC Worldwide, Certificate 15.