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 Wednesday, 22 January, 2003, 10:20 GMT
Lost Prince seeks cinema success
The Lost Prince
The Lost Prince was acclaimed by TV critics
The Lost Prince, a major BBC television drama that got its first airing in the UK on Sunday, could be heading for cinemas in the United States.

The little-known story of Prince John, youngest son of George V and Queen Mary, drew 7.7 million viewers when the first of its two parts was screened on BBC One.

Stephen Poliakoff
Stephen Poliakoff wrote and directed the story
The two halves could now be brought together for a feature-length US cinema release.

The BBC is in negotiations with US distributors, but a spokeswoman told BBC News Online that talks were not at an advanced stage.

However, the show's producer John Chapman told the Daily Telegraph that he hoped a deal would be struck within the next two weeks.

"After that, it could go worldwide as a further advance for British craftsmanship," he said.

"I've done quite a few shows in my time, but I've never had a reaction like this. People really, really like it."

Directed by Stephen Poliakoff, the drama stars Miranda Richardson, Gina McKee and Sir Michael Gambon - all of whom would be familiar to many US cinemagoers.

Momentous history

The first programme, shown on Sunday, was admired by critics, with the Daily Mail hailing a "princely feast of acting" and the Guardian describing its high points as "breathtaking".

Although it was watched in 7.7 million households - a good total for such a show - it was beaten in the ratings by ITV1's A Touch of Frost, which was viewed by 10.8 million.

The story tells how Prince John was isolated from public life and kept away from his family after being diagnosed as an epileptic with autistic-like learning difficulties.

Poliakoff set the story against the background of one of the most momentous periods in history - the political build-up to World War I and the machinations of European royalty in the early part of the 20th Century.

The second programme will be screened on Sunday 26 January on BBC One at 2030 GMT.

See also:

20 Jan 03 | Entertainment
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