Byron is a British television film based on the adult life of English poet Lord Byron. Written by Nick Dear and directed by Julian Farino, it features Jonny Lee Miller in the title role alongside Vanessa Redgrave who portrays Lady Melbourne. It was first aired by the BBC in two, 75 minute parts in September 2003.
|Written by||Nick Dear|
|Directed by||Julian Farino|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||2|
|Running time||75 minutes|
|Original network||BBC Two|
|Original release||27 September –|
28 September 2003
|Jonny Lee Miller||Lord Byron|
|Stephen Campbell Moore||John Cam Hobhouse|
|Oliver Milburn||Scrope Davies|
|Philip Glenister||William Fletcher|
|Vanessa Redgrave||Lady Melbourne|
|Natasha Little||Augusta Leigh|
|Camilla Power||Lady Caroline Lamb|
|Julie Cox||Annabella Millbanke|
|Oliver Dimsdale||Percy Bysshe Shelley|
|Sally Hawkins||Mary Shelley|
|No.||Title||Original air date||UK viewers|
|1||"The Summer of a Dormouse"||27 September 2003||2.1 million|
|2||"The Eloquence of Action"||28 September 2003||1.8 million|
The drama was announced in November 2002 by BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning Jane Tranter, written by Nick Dear and to be directed by Julian Farino. Writing about the announcement for The Daily Telegraph, Tom Leonard said that the production "is the latest example of the corporation's fixation with producing period dramas that are 'relevant to a modern audience'". It was produced by Ruth Baumgarten with executive producers Laura Mackie, Hilary Salmon and Andrea Miller.
Miller said that as a result of his portrayal, his opinion of Byron was that: "He had the ability to be an extraordinarily nice, kind man but he could also be really quite cruel when he made his mind up about somebody. I certainly don't like the way he treated some people."
Lady Caroline Lamb was seen by Power as a "child woman, incredibly vulnerable and one of those people with a huge life force".
According to overnight figures, 2.1 million viewers (12% audience share) saw the first part with 1.8 million viewers (11% share) watching the second following the BBC Two broadcast.
In a preview ahead of its airing on BBC America in 2005, The New York Times said that the film "paints a sympathetic, at times serious-minded portrait without glossing over his vanity and artful affectations", and that Miller "skillfully blends his restless passion and moments of sour self-awareness". Writing for British Film Institute's Screenonline website, Alexander Larman also praised Miller's performance, saying in a profile of the actor that his portrayal of Byron was "sensitive and nuanced". Peter Chochran, writing about Byron portrayal on screen, described Miller as "outstanding in the lead: the most successful screen Byron there is".
Jenny Bevan won the Costume Design (Drama) award at the Royal Television Society Craft and Design Awards in 2004 for her work on the production. The awards also saw John Paul Kelly nominated in the Production Design (Drama) category.
- Deans, Jason (29 September 2003). "C4's Deal labours with poor ratings". theguardian.com. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
- "Jonny Lee Miller set to play Byron as BBC announces ambitious slate of historical dramas and period adaptations for BBC ONE and TWO". BBC. 6 November 2002. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
- "Byron heads BBC drama schedule". BBC News. 6 November 2002. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
- Leonard, Tom (8 November 2002). "BBC to portray Byron as a 'sex-god aristo'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
- "Jonny Lee Miller is joined by Vanessa Redgrave to star in Byron, a drama about the greatest romantic poet of his age for BBC TWO". BBC. 13 February 2003. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
- "Byron". BBC. February 2007. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- "The Dissolute Lifestyle of a Charmer and a Poet". The New York Times. 21 October 2005. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
- Larman, Alexander. "Miller, Jonny Lee (1972-)". Screenonline. British Film Institute. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
- Christine Kenyon-Jones, ed. (2008). Byron: The Image of the Poet. Associated University Press. p. 96. ISBN 9780874139976.
- "Little Britain dominates RTS craft awards". Broadcast website. 1 December 2004. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
- "BBC dominates RTS craft shortlist". Broadcast website. 5 November 2004. Retrieved 18 August 2013.