Hattie - In The Press
The 36th best TV show of 2011 according to the Radio Times.
If you missed this superior biographical drama when it was shown earlier this year, here's a good chance to catch up. Ruth Jones is mesmerising as Hattie Jacques, a beloved comic actor who became part of a domestic ménage with adored husband John Le Mesurier and sexy younger man John Schofield. The story is irresistible: Schofield (Being Human's Aidan Turner) meets Hattie after a charity event and the two are quickly in the grip of an electrifying sexual passion. Bizarrely, even incredibly, Schofield moves into the Le Mesurier home and the marital bed, with John banished to the attic. Yet Stephen Russell's script judges no one as it reveals a marriage that, in its own strange way, was rock-solid, with Hattie and John sharing a lifelong devotion, even after their divorce. Ever the gentleman, John takes the blame for the break-up. Hattie is a touching drama that, for once, doesn't perform a hatchet job on an adored British comedy figure.
Alison Graham, Radio Times, 7th May 2011
The Beeb's drama department has carved out a neat niche with its biopics of beloved British comedy stars: from Kenneth Williams and Tony Hancock to Frankie Howerd and Morecambe and Wise. This latest film, first shown on BBC Four in January, is a worthy addition. Gavin & Stacey's Ruth Jones stars in an acclaimed dramatisation of Carry On star Hattie Jacques's life. Though she played an austere matron on screen, Jacques's private life was actually rather racy. The story focuses on the early 1960s love triangle between Jacques, her chauffeur (Aidan Turner) and her husband, Dad's Army star John Le Mesurier (a heartbreaking turn from Cold Feet's Robert Bathurst) - whom she continued to love, even when she moved her toyboy into their bed. It's a bittersweet story, superbly acted, and followed by a repeat of Jacques's 1963 appearance on This Is Your Life.
Another new addition to our script archive - this time it's the script for Hattie, BBC Four's recent drama about larger-than-life Carry On actress, Hattie Jacques.
BBC Writersroom, 14th March 2011
It was the central performances that were special. Ruth Jones is more beautiful than Hattie Jacques was, but otherwise she was just right.
Written by Rachel Cooke. The New Statesman, 27th January 2011
In Hattie, Hattie Jacques (Ruth Jones) looked like she might be about to tell This Is Your Life host Eamonn Andrews to get stuffed, before composing herself and affecting modesty: "Oh Eamonn, they don't come much duller than me." Ha ha. What Andrews didn't know was that Jacques had just changed the man in the marital bed, despatching husband John Le Mesurier upstairs and summoning down their lodger.
Ruth Jones' version of Jacques still comes out of this being as difficult to dislike as the real Hattie was.
Written by Chris Hallam. Movie Muser, 24th January 2011
A terrific biopic of the 'Carry On' actress blows the cobwebs off the Sixties.
Written by John Walsh. The Independent on Sunday, 23rd January 2011
Has there ever been a more passive and diffident Englishman than John Le Mesurier? Last time he was dramatised was in a film about his best friend Tony Hancock, in which he stood politely by as Hancock ran off with Le Mesurier's third wife. Now he turns up in Hattie (BBC4) as Hattie Jacques's cuckolded husband (she was his second wife). Jacques - played in an exceptional performance by Ruth Jones - took in her used-car salesman lover as a lodger, and maintained a secret affair by the cunning means of slipping upstairs during the middle of the night. The scene in which she was finally discovered by Le Mesurier (a perfectly cast Robert Bathurst) in bed with her lover was a vision of tragicomic poignancy. He apologised for intruding and explained with consummate resignation that he was looking for his book - a James Bond novel. Seldom has the distance between reality and fantasy been so economically or movingly captured.
Well, who'd have thought it of Hattie Jacques. According to BBC4's latest showbiz biopic Hattie, the celebrated comedienne, played by Ruth Jones, conducted quite a carry on of her own back in the sixties. Married to the actor John Le Mesurier, Jacques took a lover ten years her junior and proceeded to move him into the family home as their lodger. Upon discovering the infidelity, Le Mesurier declined the invitation to move out, choosing instead to swap his bed for that of the boyfriend and become cuckold/lodger in his own house. A bizarre compromise that satisfied no-one.
Written by Andrew Laughlin. Digital Spy, 21st January 2011
It takes a special kind of love to move into the lodger's room in the attic while your wife makes hay with her fancy man in the master bedroom. But that was the peculiar domestic set-up at the conflicted heart of Hattie, the true - yes, true - story of Carry On comedy legend Hattie Jacques.
I always think a TV biopic has done its job when you come away wanting to know more about the people involved.
Written by Jane Murphy. Orange Blogs, 20th January 2011
Ruth Jones played Jacques, a piece of casting that on paper may have seemed to make sense physically, but didn't entirely in practice.
Written by Tom Sutcliffe. The Independent, 20th January 2011
This wasn't just a glimpse behind closed doors, it was a thorough rifle through underwear drawers and dirty laundry. And for Jacques, events were always arcing towards that hotel room at the start. It was beautifully shot and acted. I put on one of the Saw movies afterwards for some light relief.
Written by Chris Harvey. The Daily Telegraph, 20th January 2011
Hattie is a neatly scripted drama, drawing the viewer closer to the persona that was Hattie Jacques while also reflecting the love and affection she had for her family and life.
Written by Andy Howells. Suite 101, 19th January 2011
Everything about Hattie is good - the performances, the writing, the direction, the lot. It's warm and sad, moving and very, very human, a proper television treat.
Written by Sam Wollaston. The Guardian, 19th January 2011
Ruth Jones is mesmerising as Hattie Jacques, the beloved comic actor and Carry On star, who became part of a domestic ménage with her adored husband John Le Mesurier and a sexy younger man, John Schofield. The story is irresistible: Schofield (played by Being Human's Aidan Turner) is a second-hand car dealer who meets Hattie after a charity event while she's filming Carry On Cabbie and the two are quickly in the grip of an electrifying sexual passion. Bizarrely, even incredibly, Schofield moves into the Le Mesurier family home and the marital bed, with John Le Mesurier banished to the lodger's room in the attic. Yet Stephen Russell's script judges no one as it reveals a marriage that, in its own strange way, was rock-solid: Hattie and Le Mesurier shared a lifelong devotion after their divorce. Ever the gentleman, Le Mesurier (Robert Bathurst) takes the blame for the break-up. Hattie is a touching drama that, for once, doesn't perform a hatchet job on an adored British comedy figure.
Alison Graham, Radio Times, 19th January 2011
Ooh, matron! The real-life bed-hopping antics of Hattie Jacques were a far cry from the sex-starved battle-axe she played in the Carry On films.
Hattie Jacques's career as a comic actress saw her appear in 14 Carry On films and build a long-term working partnership and friendship with Eric Sykes. But this focuses on her marriage to Dad's Army star John Le Mesurier, which was interrupted when she had an affair with a cabbie and moved him into the marital bed, with Le Mesurier moving into the attic room upstairs. That Jacques and Le Mesurier remained on good terms is testament to Jacques' magnetic, scrumptious warmth, which actress Ruth Jones captures here beautifully.
We all felt it was time to look at a woman in comedy and it would be interesting to portray a comic whose life was more colourful off screen than her roles ever suggested.
Written by Seb Barwell. BBC TV Blog, 19th January 2011
If a biopic of Britain's favourite "silly, frigid, fat girl", Hattie Jacques, sounds a lark, then be warned: this is a bittersweet drama that focuses on the actor's relationship with a younger lover. It's an affair that ultimately destroys her marriage to Dad's Army actor John Le Mesurier - who was also cuckolded in a similar BBC4 biopic, Hancock And Joan - as Jacques, hopelessly in lust, moves her lover into her marital home as a lodger. Ruth Jones, deftly showing Jacques as both selfish and capable of self-deprecating charm, heads an impressive cast.
The Carry On star and much-loved comic actress Hattie Jacques might have often been cast as a stern matron, a battle-axe even, but Stephen Russell's bittersweet drama reveals a lustier, naughtier side to her character. There are elements of artistic licence in his storyline and Hattie might have benefited if it had offered a broader spectrum to Jacques's life, but this tightly focused film is driven by an exquisite performance by Ruth Jones.
As we begin our interview her conversation is thoughtful, bordering on hesitant, even shy, but at the same time reassuringly down-to-earth. She admits she's quite content to blend into the background when she isn't in character.
Written by Tim Randall. The Scotsman, 17th January 2011
Robin Le Mesurier was ten when his parents told him and his younger brother, Kim, that their marriage was over.
Written by Amanda Cable. The Daily Mail, 15th January 2011