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Classic story to be broadcast after rights issue resolved
7:00am Saturday 22nd September 2012 in News
A new television production of Bingley author John Braine’s novel Room at the Top, which was dropped last year over a row about who owned the rights, will finally be screened next week.
The drama, partly filmed at Bradford City Hall, was pulled only hours before its scheduled screening on BBC Four in April, 2011.
A BBC spokesman said at the time that transmission had been postponed due to a “potential contractual issue”.
Mr Braine, who went to St Bede’s Grammar School in Heaton , died in 1986. His family is understood to have given the BBC approval for the TV production but a rival claim over the screen rights was made.
Room at the Top was published in 1957 and hailed as a classic in its depiction of working-class Joe Lampton making his way in a post-war northern city, based on Bradford.
In his efforts to climb the social ladder, Joe plots to marry a wealthy factory owner’s daughter, but falls in love with an older woman he meets at an amateur dramatic society.
Room at the Top was made into an Oscar-winning 1959 film starring Laurence Harvey and Simone Signoret, partly filmed in Bradford.
The new TV version, starring Matthew McNulty, Maxine Peake and new Doctor Who assistant Jenna-Louise Coleman, will be shown on BBC Four this Wednesday and Thursday.
Bradford City of Film director David Wilson said he was “delighted” that the re-make will be shown.
City Hall appears in the programme as the Town Hall, the venue for a civic dinner dance and a Conservative club.
“The original film caused something of a stir when first released and I believe it was nearly banned,” said Mr Wilson.
“This was one of the first British films to show the North in its true grit and use local dialect.
“It is still studied today as a key reference in British cinema.”
The new TV drama was made by Great Meadow Productions. A statement on the company’s website says: “Great Meadow Productions is pleased to announce that the issue of copyright between Remus Films and the estate of John Braine, represented by its agent David Higham Associates, has been resolved.”
Described as “vibrant, visceral, modern and compelling”, the two-part adaptation follows the story of a man on the make. Joe has a new job as a clerk and takes lodgings in an affluent area of town.
With his cold-hearted ambitions going beyond civic life, he embarks on a plan to marry into the prosperous middle classes.
But then he meets Alice Aisgill, unhappily married and ten years older than him, and he finds true passion of both the heart and senses.