Peggy Ashcroft in She's Been Away (1989)

Rebecca Pidgeon in She's Been Away (1989)

Rebecca Pidgeon in She's Been Away (1989)

She's Been Away (1989)

Written by Stephen Poliakoff and Directed by Peter Hall

The film is set during a time when the Victorian asylums were being knocked down or turned into flats and their final remaining residents were being turned loose on the streets. The film follows Lillian who has been in a mental hospital for almost half a century, returning to the London home of her nephew Hugh (James Fox) a city banker. Initially reclusive and hostile in her new environment, Lillian gradually forms an intense relationship with her nephew's wife Harriet (Geraldine James). Their new friendship results in them setting off on an explosive journey like an unlikely Thelma and Louise. 
Poliakoff explores themes relating to the outsider and people with disabilities which also surfaces in a later project of his, The Lost Prince. Poliakoff wrote the part especially for Peggy Ashcroft and it was the third collaboration between Poliakoff and the influential producer Kenith Todd. Beautifully directed by Peter Hall it stars Dame Peggy Ashcroft, James Fox, Geraldine James and Rebecca Pidgeon as the young Lillian.
The film won five awards at the Venice Film Festival including Best Actress awards for both Peggy Ashcroft and Geraldine James and both the film and Peggy Ashcroft were BAFTA nominated.

Available on BBC Store.