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Week 49 2022 : Sat 03 Dec - Fri 09 Dec
- Sat 14 Jan 2023
The Confessions of Frannie Langton
Full series drop on ITVX on Thursday 8 December.
The Confessions of Frannie Langton a four-part drama, adapted by author and writer Sara Collins from her breath-taking debut novel of the same name.
Karla-Simone Spence (Blue Story, Wannabe) leads the cast in the role of Frannie Langton, the drama’s young protagonist born into a life of slavery who is fighting to tell her own story. She is joined by Sophie Cookson (The Trial of Christine Keeler, Kingsman: The Secret Service) as Madame Marguerite Benham and Patrick Martins (Redemption, Blasts From The Past) as Olaudah “Laddie” Cambridge in the murder mystery drama.
Also starring in the historically authentic adaptation is Stephen Campbell Moore (War of The Worlds, The One) as renowned scientist and husband to Madame, George Benham. Joining him are Steven Mackintosh (Rocketman, Wanderlust) as John Langton and Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn (Small Axe) as Sal.
Set against the dazzling opulence of Georgian London, The Confessions of Frannie Langton, narrates Frannie’s journey from a Jamaican plantation to the grand Mayfair mansion of celebrated scientist George Benham and his exquisitely beautiful wife, Madame Marguerite Benham. In a misguided and monstrous gesture Frannie is gifted to Benham by the man who owns her, John Langton, and she is employed as a maid in the household much to her chagrin.
London, 1826: A young Jamaican maid, Frannie Langton is found asleep in bed next to her lover, Madame Benham, who lies dead beside her. When Master George Benham is also found dead, and Frannie claims to have no memory of the previous night, Frannie is dragged to Newgate prison, accused of double murder.
In flashbacks, we learn that Frannie was born into slavery in Jamaica. Her enslaver, John Langton, brought her to London and gave her as a 'gift' to the wealthy London couple to work as a maid. George Benham, an esteemed scientist, had been funding John Langton’s mysterious 'race' experiments on his plantation.
Frannie is visited in prison by her devoted friend Sal, who tries to help her remember what happened on the night of the murders. If she cannot - or will not remember - Frannie will hang.
Frannie becomes Madame's secretary. The women grow close as Madame shares her frustrated desire to write and opens up about her past. She talks about the young African boy, Laddie who used to be her servant; Frannie learns that he, like herself, was forcibly taken from his mother. When Frannie attends a country house party with the Benhams, she observes how shocked Madame is to see the now adult Laddie in attendance. Madame asks a jealous Franne to take him a note apologising for how she and her husband treated him. Laddie ignores the note and goads Frannie - alluding to the things that went on at the plantation - things that Frannie does not want to face. Frannie tells Madame that she wants to be with her, even if their relationship has to be ‘done in the dark’. They share an illicit kiss. At dinner, Benham talks of how happy his slaves are and Laddie lampoons him. Frannie spends the night with Madame. The episode closes in the cell, with Frannie telling Sal about how much Madame had hurt her, alluding to something awful Madame had asked her to do…
Frannie begs Madame to leave her bullying husband, but Madame prefers to take refuge in increasing quantities of laudanum. Benham employs his cousin Hep Elliot to take over Madame's care. Frannie is pushed out as Hep tries - and fails - to get romantically close to Madame. Tired of being her secret lover Frannie says she wants to bring their relationship into the light. Hep overhears this and in a jealous fit, tells Benham that the women are lovers. Benham throws Frannie out onto the street where she is rescued by Sal, who gives her shelter and helps her recover from her laudanum addiction. Sal runs a notorious spanking parlour called the School-House and when Frannie has recovered she begins to work there as a dominatrix. It is a brief period of happiness but this is disturbed when Frannie receives a letter from Madame saying she needs her... Frannie rushes back to Madame who she discovers is pregnant...and the child is Laddie's.
Frannie’s trial date finally arrives. The court must determine whether Frannie truly is responsible for double murder. The prosecution lawyer Jessop reveals damning evidence, and Hep and the housekeeper Linux testify, exposing hidden secrets. But hope isn’t lost: Frannie’s lawyer Pettigrew sheds doubt on the prosecution’s case. After Sal’s discovery of last-minute evidence, could an unexpected source’s testimony clear Frannie’s name?
Through flashbacks, we learn about the Benham’s soiree the night of the murders. The couple had made an impossible request of Frannie - to exile herself and bring up Madame's child when it is born.
When Frannie is cross-examined she turns the tables, challenging the court about who should really be on trial: British society. She then reveals who was responsible for the Benhams’ murders. And finally, Frannie takes the opportunity to seek forgiveness - not for the murders but for the most important thing of all - what she did at the plantation.