Description: The first season of 24 hours of drama inspired by the works of literature’s greatest whistle blower – Emile Zola. Glenda Jackson stars as Dide, 104 years old and matriarch to a family of wolves – the Rougon-Macquart’s.
1: BLOOD: Animals: France is on the brink of a new Empire. This episode is a compelling combination of biting humour and tragedy, as Pierre, Dide’s son siphons off her money and steals his illegitimate sibling’s inheritance. By stark contrast, Dide strikes up a caring and loving relationship with her great grand-son, Silvere, whose friendship and love for Miette is heartbreaking as they run off to join the Republican uprising.
2: BLOOD: Fire: France is on the brink of a new Empire. Dide’s family is a turbulent mix of the good, the bad and the misguided. This episode, Fire, focuses on Francois and Martha who are happily married, living a quiet, bourgeois life. Abbe Faujas, a charismatic, sinister priest, arrives on their doorstep and announces he has come to live in their spare room. Black comedy and tension ensue as his scheming drives a wedge between the couple, uncovering the darker side of this sleepy provincial town.
3: BLOOD: Food: Lisa Macquart’s brother-in-law turns up on her doorstep and her entire future seems threatened. A story of love, jealousy and betrayal.
4: BLOOD: Politics: Eugene Rougon was once at the heart of government. Now he’s just another member of the public, and it’s killing him. When his cousin, Lisa Macquart turns up with proof that her brother-in-law is embroiled in a plot to assassinate the Emperor, a game of political chess begins.
5: BLOOD: Drink: Gervaise Macquart has spent her life chasing happiness. Now, as she sits across the table from a bottle of brandy and a quiet, handsome man, she realises just how priceless that feeling is. A story of how other people’s addictions have shaped one woman’s life.
6: BLOOD: Art: Dide secretly set aside money to support her great-grandson, Claude Lantier, in his pursuit of becoming a great artist. She’s hopeful that the bad blood in the family line won’t taint his talent. Claude, as one of the pioneers of impressionist art, is determined to paint the truth around him, contrary to popular fashion. At the same time he’s desperate to be accepted by the national salon, but when this happens, it’s devastating. Continues in Masterpiece.
7: BLOOD: Masterpiece: Dide has invested her only last bit of money in her great-grandson, hopeful that his talent as an artist will pull him out of the dregs of ‘bad blood’ that have cursed the family. Claude suffered a terrible humiliation when his painting was exhibited in the National Salon gallery. He and Christine now have a son and he feels rejuvenated, but his obsession to create ‘the’ masterpiece wreaks havoc.
8: BLOOD: Fury: Dide follows her great-grandson Jacques, a train driver. Jacques loves his train more than any woman he’s ever met. But Dide is aware of the terrifying, murderous desires that Jacques harbours within.
9: BLOOD: Trains: As society changes around her, Dide is still trapped in her small room in the local asylum, but omniscient when it comes to her extended family. As a young woman, she gave birth to two dynasties that exemplified French society. One legitimate – rich, powerful, obsessive and corrupt. The other illegitimate – poor, vulnerable, weak and depraved.
It took this excellent script to bring Glenda Jackson out of 23 years hiding from the boards. Need I say more.
Damaged by a lifetime of seizures and her mind scarred by trauma but Dide cannot forget her family. “What did I bring into this world? Wolves… I have raised a family of Wolves… I have watched their years. I will tell their story. Crime by crime. Blood by blood.” Dide (GLENDA JACKSON) marries Rougon, and gives birth to Pierre Rougon (ROBERT LINDSAY). After Rougon’s death, Dide has an affair with the smuggler Macquart and gives birth to Antione Macquart (IAN HART) and Ursule (Kate Coogan) and the Rougon-Macquart dynasty is born.