Co-Stars: Bill Nighy, Miranda Richardson, Emily Blunt
Exploring themes of love, loss, parenthood, and the cult of celebrity, it is set against the backdrop of New Labour’s rise to power, the death of Princess Diana, and the ill-advised development of the Millennium Dome. Gideon is a hotshot publicist and the widowed father of a sullen teenage daughter, driven to the edge of a nervous breakdown by her emotional detachment from him. She is resentful that he was a serial adulterer who was calling his mistress as her mother lay dying of cancer. To put distance between them, she at first plans to do volunteer work in South America or (her father’s preferred choice) to study at the University of Edinburgh.
Stella is mourning the death of her young son, killed while riding his bike on public roads for the first time. Afraid of sleep, and desperate to escape her sense of bereavement, she works the night shift in a supermarket where she raises guinea pigs in the back. She meets Gideon when her ex-husband tries to accost one of Gideon’s clients, a New Labour minister, about the government’s lack of response to the unsafe traffic conditions that caused their son’s death. Soon after the chance meeting, the two find themselves developing an emotional bond, brought together by a shared sense of grief and loss.
BBC press release:
Tom Hardy plays Andrew
Tom Hardy admits that he was nervous when he was invited to play the part of Andrew in Gideon’s Daughter.
“I’m a huge fan of both Bill Nighy and Miranda Richardson,” the young actor reveals. “I thought if they were in the building, I’d be exposed as the pizza delivery boy!”
In the event, the 27-year-old Hardy more than holds his own in such exalted company. He brings a real plausibility to his character.
Andrew is a whizzkid PR who works with Gideon (played by Nighy) and is in awe of the older man’s apparent guru-like wisdom.
Hardy, who starred in the recent critically-acclaimed West End production of Festen, as well as such high-profile productions as Black Hawk Down, Band of Brothers, Layer Cake, Colditz and Star Trek: Nemesis, felt like he knew his character.
“Andrew is a type I’m familiar with: he’s one of those slick City PR boys. He’s very astute, but not too fussy about the ethics of his business. He operates in a pretty amoral way.
“He’s Gideon’s right-hand man, and he enjoys all the accoutrements of the upwardly mobile. He has a lot of gadgets from the pages of GQ and a new, very attractive supermodel girlfriend every weekend. He’s simply fascinated by power and what you can do with it.
“He’s totally caught up in this world, and desperately wants to get to the top of it. His natural gifts are meeting and greeting, schmoozing and brown-nosing. He reaps the benefits of blagging.”
The drama also has wider ramifications about the way in which so much of our lives are controlled by ruthless media manipulators like Andrew.
“Spin is responsible for how we all are,” continues Hardy, who will soon be appearing on our screens in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, as well as taking the lead opposite Rutger Hauer in a new horror movie entitled Minotaur.
“PR manipulation is so dangerous: remember that film, Wag the Dog, about how spin-doctors created a war as a distraction?
“Spin is treacherous because it’s morally irresponsible. People in positions of authority can mould things for their own ends. They don’t do it for the greater good but to enhance their own power.”
Finally, Hardy expresses his gratitude for the chance to take part in a Stephen Poliakoff project.
“Stephen is a class act. He has his own vision and he brings it to fruition without any interference from anyone. He has complete control over every syllable. In this day and age, that’s incredibly rare. It was a privilege to work with him.”