The Honourable Woman: BBC Two Political Thriller

by SteveRogerson

Maggie Gyllenhaal stars as Nessa Stein, the title role in The Honourable Woman, an eight-part Middle Eastern political drama due to start on BBC Two on Thursday 3 July 2014.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the heart of The Honourable Woman, an eight-part political drama due to start on BBC Two on Thursday 3 July 2014. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Nessa Stein, who is elevated to high politics in the conflict, but she has a troubled history, including a father who was a Zionist arms procurer.

Maggie Gyllenhaal as Nessa Stein
Maggie Gyllenhaal as Nessa Stein
Photo from the BBC and Drama Republic

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict forms the focus of The Honourable Woman, an eight-part political drama due to start on BBC Two on Thursday 3 July 2014. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Nessa Stein, the honourable woman from the title who is working to reconcile the conflict. But her troubled background continues to haunt her.

Stein’s father was a Zionist arms procurer and as a child she witnessed his assassination. As an adult, she runs his company but has changed its purpose to laying high-speed data cabling between Israel and the West Bank. This work leads to her appointment as a life peer, which elevates her to the international political stage.

“Nessa is a very powerful, smart and emotional woman but at the same time she’s broken and confused with a deeply troubled past,” said Gyllenhaal. “She is deeply conflicted about past events, events that have haunted her and it is the reason why she is constantly battling a consuming internal conflict – this internal struggle for reconciliation with her past and her search for personal equilibrium – is manifested in her political activities to try to reconcile a conflict that has equally haunted a region of the world, countless lives and political agendas for many years.”


Actors in The Honourable Woman

This is American actress Maggie Gyllenhaal’s first move into television. Daughter of director Stephen Gyllenhaal, her acting career started with appearances in her father’s films. She is though now well recognised in her own right and was nominated for an Oscar for her performance as Jean Craddock in the 2009 film Crazy Heart. She has also received two Golden Globe nominations, for Lee Holloway in 2002’s Secretary and Sherry Swanson in 2006’s Sherrybabe. Other notable roles include Elizabeth Darko in Donnie Darko and Rachel in The Dark Knight.

Andrew Buchan plays Nessa’s brother Ephra Stein. Also in The Honourable Woman are Stephen Rea as Sir Hugh Hayden-Hoyle from MI5, Lindsay Duncan as Anjelica Hayden-Hoyle, Eve Best as Monica Chatwin, Katherine Parkinson as Ephra’s wife Rachel Stein, Janet McTeer as Dame Julia Walsh, Lubna Azabal as Ephra and Rachel’s nanny Atika Halabi, Tobias Menzies as Nathaniel Bloom, Genevieve O’Reilly as Frances Pirsig and Igal Naor as Shlomo Zahary.


Team Behind The Honourable Woman

The drama was produced by new independent production company Drama Republic and Eight Rooks Productions for BBC Two and Sundance TV. Controller of BBC Drama, Ben Stephenson, with former controller of BBC Two, Janice Hadlow, commissioned The Honourable Woman. BBC Worldwide holds international distribution rights.

The series was written, directed and produced by Hugo Blick for Eight Rooks Productions. Executive producers were Greg Brenman for Drama Republic and Polly Hill for the BBC. Abi Bach was the producer.

“Maggie Gyllenhaal makes a perfect Nessa Stein,” said Hill. “Hugo Blick has created a complex character in Nessa, with an extraordinary story. The combination of Hugo’s stunning scripts and Maggie Gyllenhaal in the lead role is an exciting and powerful combination.”

Updated: 06/29/2014, SteveRogerson
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