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Jason Isaacs is Cary Grant in ‘Archie’

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Jason Isaacs is Cary Grant in ‘Archie’

Best on the Box choice for Friday, November 24th…

The four-part drama starring Jason Isaacs about the life of Hollywood’s leading man, Cary Grant launched on ITVX and the STV Player this week (Nov 23rd). Written by screenwriter, Jeff Pope, it charts the life of Grant who was born Archibald Alexander Leach in Bristol, England in 1904, to parents Elsie and Elias. Archie narrates the story of his troubled childhood and how extreme poverty, his father’s adultery and the loss of his older brother, John, tore the family apart and sent his loving mother into a downward spiral of grief and depression.

Jeff Pope’s scripts reveal how deceit, cruelty and one, overpowering lie shaped Archie’s life. At 14 he auditioned for the music hall act, the Bob Pender Troupe, a band of acrobats, stilt walkers, clowns and comedians after seeing them perform at the Bristol Hippodrome. Lean and athletic, he learned the art of stilt walking, and when the troupe went on tour to the US, teenage Archie was intoxicated by the land of opportunity. Believing he was not wanted by his family in the UK, he decided to stay in the US to try to make his way in show business.

With no thoughts of acting, a chance meeting with the comedian George Burns helped him find his first footing on the acting ladder and a contract with a movie studio who felt he needed to change his name, and Cary Grant was born.

In the first episode, 58-year-old Cary Grant is lonely in Los Angeles and on his third divorce. The drama flashes back to his troubled childhood as Archie Leach in Victorian Bristol with a bullying father and a mother grieving for the loss of his older brother.

After Archie’s father, Elias, tells him his mother is dead and sends him to live with his grandmother, Archie finds a new ‘family’ with the Pender Troupe – acrobats playing at the Bristol hippodrome. We follow teenage Archie as he journeys to New York with the Pender Troupe and his thrill at performing to an audience. He falls in love with the vibrancy of America and its people and when it’s time to go home, he refuses because he has nothing to go back for.

Meanwhile, in 1962, Cary Grant, now the most famous film star in the world, is captivated by a beautiful young actress called Dyan Cannon, who he first sees on television. Enlisting the help of his agent Stanley Fox to find her, he finally persuades Dyan to meet him at his bungalow on the Universal Studios lot. Dyan provides the breath of fresh air he needs with her infectious laughter and beautiful smile.

While filming ‘North by Northwest’ with Alfred Hitchcock, Cary confesses that he has fallen in love again. Cary invites Dyan to his house in Benedict Canyon where they laugh and sing a duet – and she experiences his idiosyncratic dining habits. But she is taken aback when he announces he doesn’t want children, he wouldn’t want to bring them into his world.

Archie, streaming now on ITVX and STV Player

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