’Apple Tree Yard’ explored the disastrous fall-out when a woman gave into her desires, now its writer will bring to screen a classic tale of sexual repression and forbidden love.
BAFTA Award-winning writer Amanda Coe (who also wrote ‘Life in Squares’) will adapt Rumer Godden’s ‘Black Narcissus’ into a new three-part adaptation for BBC One.
Returning the romantic but dark love story to its original setting in the 1930s, as the western colonial order is about to explode into World War Two, the narrative follows Sister Clodagh and the nuns of St Faiths, who travel to Nepal to set up a branch of their order in the remote palace of Mopu.
In the so-called House of Women, Sister Clodagh finds herself increasingly attracted to the handsome and damaged land agent, Mr Dean. But as the repressed memories of Clodagh’s past become entangled with the tragic history of Princess Srimati, the Nepalese princess driven to madness and suicide in the palace after her own tragic love story, history seems doomed to repeat itself.
The story asks, are there really ghosts here in the Himalayas, or are the nuns just succumbing to long-repressed primal desires? And which of them is prepared to die – or kill – for love?
The original film was controversial for its time, made by Powell and Pressburger in 1947. Film critic David Thomson called it “that rare thing, an erotic English film about the fantasies of nuns”.
Writer Amanda Coe says: “I’m thrilled to be adapting Black Narcissus for BBC1. It’s a truly extraordinary love story, as well as a brilliantly unsettling piece of 20th century gothic about the power of a place to get under your skin and the dangers of refusing to learn from history.”