Joes Palace, A Real Summer and Capturing Mary are three linked dramas by Poliakoff that centre on a large Georgian house in London. Sumptuous pieces, beautifully shot to feature-film standards for the BBC. A Real Summer, (commissioned by BBC Twos Culture Show), is a 45-minute bridging piece, a monologue for the actress Ruth Wilson who, as Mary, stars again in Capturing Mary.
Capturing Mary stars Maggie Smith, David Walliams, Ruth Wilson and Danny Lee Wynter. Like Joe's Palace it is set in the same exquisite empty house, and takes the young caretaker, Joe, and new characters into a dark and terrifying exploration of the past and how it can quite literally capture and destroy a person's life. It focuses on a formerly very successful woman, Mary (Maggie Smith in a rare television appearance), a once-brilliant writer and critic, reflecting on her younger self (Ruth Wilson). As she looks back on her prime, remembering parties and functions with the cultural elite played out as echoes and shadows in the empty palazzo, Mary is haunted by the memory of a supremely charming but subtly evil man, Greville (David Walliams), who feigned friendship, but actually brought destruction.
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