Bouquet of Barbed Wire

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Bouquet of Barbed Wire (1976)
Genre Drama
Written by Andrea Newman
Starring Frank Finlay
Susan Penhaligon
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Rex Firkin
Producer(s) Tony Wharmby
Production company(s) London Weekend Television
Original channel ITV
First shown in 1976
Bouquet of Barbed Wire (2010)
Genre Drama
Written by Guy Andrews
Starring Trevor Eve
Hermione Norris
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
Production company(s) Mammoth Screen
Original channel ITV, STV, UTV
First shown in 2010

Bouquet of Barbed Wire is a British television series based on a 1969 novel by Andrea Newman. The series, whose title comes from an incident that occurred to Newman and her mother while on a walk, was made by London Weekend Television for ITV in 1976.[1] A new adaptation of the novel was released in 2010.

Outline of 1976 adaptation[edit]


Prue Sorensen (Susan Penhaligon) is a university student who, after becoming pregnant, marries an American actor by the name of Gavin (James Aubrey). Her father, publisher Peter Manson (Frank Finlay), appears to have an unhealthy relationship with his daughter, and becomes distressed over both the pregnancy and the marriage. There has been tension between Peter and Gavin since the pregnancy was announced, which Prue exploits for her own amusement; it is implied that Prue has engineered the marriage and even the pregnancy, in order to provoke her father.

Prue and Gavin stay at her parents' house for the weekend, ostensibly to smooth over relations with Peter. This fails, however, as Peter barely acknowledges Gavin's presence. Prue's mother, Cassie (Sheila Allen), is more accepting of Gavin and is aware that Prue is playing her father and her lover against each other. Prue suggests to Gavin that they invite Peter to accompany them on a summer holiday in southern France. When Gavin approaches Peter about it, he declines to join them.


A young woman named Sarah Francis (Deborah Grant) is hired as Peter's new office secretary. Soon, it becomes apparent that Peter is attracted to Sarah, but he doesn't pursue her. During an argument with Cassie, Peter says he is struck by Sarah's ambitious drive and contrasts it to what he perceives as Prue's reckless behavior. Sarah is an independent woman who is seeing two men, one of whom visits her flat against her landlord's rules. Drama ensues when Sarah's alcoholic father arrives at the apartment unannounced.

Cassie, fearful that the family is growing apart, suggests that she and Peter go on holiday to Scotland with their two young sons, showing them the places they visited on their honeymoon. Peter remains increasingly obsessed with Prue, and believes her pregnancy has ruined her life. He grows resentful towards Cassie, who he believes has sided with Prue against him. Meanwhile, Prue refuses to speak with Peter over his treatment of Gavin. Later, Gavin hits Prue while she is sick due to her pregnancy, resulting in Prue's refusal to go to her job. He later apologizes profusely for hitting her, claiming that he will never do it again.


Immediately after Prue was angrily led off by Gavin, Peter calmly admits to Cassie that everything she said was true. Cassie realizes that both the affair and the accusation are evidence of Peter's twisted obsession with Prue and orders him to leave; he spends the night at Sarah's apartment. Later, Cassie is called to the hospital where Gavin has admitted a badly beaten Prue. When Gavin visits Cassie the next day, he claims that she had been putting him up to beating her as a means of self-punishment. He pleads with Prue to stop making him hurt her; she ignores him and casually says that she "had it coming".


Character Actor
Peter Manson Frank Finlay
Prue Manson/Sorenson Susan Penhaligon
Gavin Sorenson James Aubrey
Cassie Manson Sheila Allen
Sarah Francis Deborah Grant

2010 Adaptation[edit]

The novel was adapted again in 2010 for ITV by Mammoth Screen,[2] as a three-part series broadcast by ITV on 7–20 September 2010. Adapted by Guy Andrews and directed by Ashley Pearce, it starred Trevor Eve as Peter Manson, Hermione Norris as Cassie Manson, Tom Riley as Gavin Sorenson and Imogen Poots as Prue Sorenson.

The 2010 adaptation made some changes to the novel and the 1976 adaption. Prue is now a sixth form student and Gavin is her Yorkshire-born English teacher, rather than an American PhD student. The first episode was watched by 5.98 million viewers, and received positive reviews.[3][4][5][6] It was released on DVD on 20 September 2010.


Character Actor
Peter Manson Trevor Eve
Prue Manson/Sorenson Imogen Poots
Gavin Sorenson Tom Riley
Cassie Manson Hermione Norris
Sarah Francis Jemima Rooper


External links[edit]