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All images from the orginal Theatre Live Sky Arts Series, photographer Robert Day
Home Productions

The Turning Point by Michael Dobbs

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Matthew Marsh as Churchill
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Benedict Cumberbatch as Burgess
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Matthew Marsh and Benedict Cumberbatch

The Turning Point

A new play by acclaimed novelist and political expert Michael, now Lord, Dobbs.

In the dark days of 1938, Winston Churchill was far from the lauded statesman he was to become. Out of power, bereft of political allies, confined to his beloved Chartwell but dogged by depression and debts, he agrees to be interviewed by a young journalist working for the BBC series 'The Week in Westminster'. Their encounter is by turns hostile, persuasive, aggressive, heart breaking and passionate, revealing so much not only about their political allegances but their personal depths. Their clash of personalities is set against a backdrop of tension borne of genuine patriotism as both men realise they have as much to share as they have to divide them. As the journalist leaves, Churchill offers him a copy of his writings, signed with a warm personal citation as the journalist reveals his name to be Guy Burgess.

Based on documentary fact revealed from researches into the archive at the BBC, Michael Dobbs has crafted a play which brings together two of the most significant personalities of mid twentieth century Britain, one of whom was to lead his country to victory as the other was revealed as a key member of the treacherous Cambridge Spies. Acclaimed as a writer of political thrillers, Michael Dobbs' most famous work 'House of Cards' created the notorious character of Frances Urquart whose role as Chief Whip was said to do for political intrigue what Dracula has done for baby sitting. More than twenty years after its publication, 'House of Cards' still garners worldwide acclaim and is about to be shown as a major mini series in the USA starring Kevin Spacey. Michael's portrayal of Churchill and Burgess in 'The Turning Point' create personalities of similar mesmering fascination, extended with characters from their close inner circle.

Immersed in British political life since the early 1980s and author of countless best selling books, Michael brings a special flair to play writing, combining his skill with language with unrivalled storytelling underpinned by forensic historical research. A passionate Churchill advocate, Michael shows the great man at his most poignant and humble when confronted with the brilliant dynamism of a young journalist who shakes him from his lethargy. The play reveals a twist in British political history that is as fascinating as it is chilling.

The Turning Point was first commissioned as a short play by Sky Arts as part of the Theatre Live! season, screened in the summer of 2009. The series was awarded the Broadcasting Press Guild Best Multichannel Programme Award and The Turning Point was selected as the play to be developed for the stage.

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