TIME SHIFT: HOW TO WRITE A MILLS & BOON
Sunday 2nd Nov, BBC4 at 8pm
What happens when a literary novelist tries to write popular romantic fiction? To mark 100 years of romance publishers Mills & Boon, author Stella Duffy takes on the challenge of writing for them. Romantic fiction is a global phenomenon, and Mills & Boon are among the biggest names in the business. The company welcomes submissions from new authors - but as Stella soon finds out, writing a Mills & Boon is harder than it looks. Help is at hand from the publishers themselves, a prolific Mills & Boon author and some avid romance fans, as Stella's quest to create the perfect Mills & Boon takes her from London to Italy. It's a revealing journey that's not only an insight into the art of romantic fiction, but also the joy and frustration of writing itself.
Consuming Passion – 100 Years Of Mills & Boon
Sunday 2 November, 9.00-10.30pm BBC FOUR
Funny, moving and very raunchy, Consuming Passion – 100 Years Of Mills & Boon, written by Emma Frost (Shameless), is a one-off drama that provides an insight into the world of romantic fiction, seen through the publishing phenomenon of Mills & Boon. They are two names synonymous with ripping bodices and one of the most recognisable and compelling genres in literature. So what is behind its phenomenal success?
Interweaving the stories of three very different women, Consuming Passion sheds light on the impact and influence the books have had on women's lives over the last century.
Tonight's first story, within the 90-minute drama, features Mary, wife of Charles Boon – the wheeler-dealer who co-founded the publishing imprint with his upright business partner and trusted friend Gerald Mills. Their decision to take a chance on the low-brow, high-romance genre proved to be so original and successful that it went on to alter the course of publishing history. Although Charles was brilliant at identifying the need for "romance" through literature in his publishing empire, he was less adept at identifying it at home. This story is inspired by the lives of the actual people behind the scenes.
Janet Bottomley is the heroine of tonight's second tale – an ordinary spinster devoted to her ailing mother at her own expense. Janet's life takes a U-turn when she meets a devastatingly handsome consultant, Dr Grant, who must operate on her mother. The meeting triggers Janet's fantastical yearning for romance and a comedy of errors ensues, changing her world for ever. This story is inspired by the real experience of many women in the Seventies, discovering their voices during a time of social and sexual revolution.
Finally, Kirstie's story brings the experience of Mills & Boon up to date. A university lecturer in literature and feminist studies, Kirstie is in a stagnating relationship with her partner, Nick. Thwarted, bored and frustrated, she is lecturing to students on romantic literature and its place within the literary canon when a sexy young stranger, Jack, enters her life.
Jodie Whittaker plays Mary, Daniel Mays plays Charles Boon, Patrick Kennedy plays Gerald Mills, Olivia Colman plays Janet, Patrick Baladi plays Dr Grant, Emilia Fox plays Kirstie, Nick Sidi plays Nick and OT Fagbenle plays Jack.
And the Romantic Novelists' Association take on the EGGHEADS on the Beeb on 4th November.