Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor Who stars as Christopher Isherwood, in BBC Two’s Christopher and His Kind, on Saturday. The one-off drama charts the life of the gay author of A Single Man.
The drama opens in the hedonistic cabaret scene of Berlin in the Thirties is in full swing where the young Anglo-American writer Christopher Isherwood arrives in the city, unable to speak a word of German.
To Isherwood’s reserved English sensibility, the city’s thriving gay subculture is thrilling and intoxicating, but he soon finds himself heartbroken after the failure of a hopeless love affair, and so sets out on a process of self-discovery.
Imogen Poots stars as Jean Ross, an aspiring actress and singer who provided Christopher with the inspiration for the Sally Bowles character of Cabaret fame; Toby Jones plays Gerald Hamilton, a peculiar man who provided the inspiration for the title character in the celebrated Isherwood novel Mr. Norris Changes Trains; Pip Carter plays Wystan Auden, the famous poet with a droll sense of humour who persuaded Christopher to join him in Berlin, and Douglas Booth plays Heinz, a street cleaner whom Christopher meets and falls in love with during his time in Berlin.
Christopher And His Kind tells the story of how Isherwood escapes repressive English society and his suffocating relationship with his mother Kathleen (Lindsay Duncan) for the decadent and politically unstable world of pre-war Berlin.
Isherwood, who died in 1986, wrote a number of critically acclaimed novels including A Single Man, based around one day in the life of George, a middle-aged, gay, English professor at an American university. The film adaptation of the novel, starring Colin Firth won the star a Golden Globe and a BAFTA award for best actor.
Christopher and His Kind is on BBC Two at 9:30pm on 19th March 2011