Executive Producer: Gub Neal
Producer: Emma Burge
Director: Julian Jarrold
PAINTED LADY/Episode 1/Intro by Russell Baker
Maggie Sheridan is an aging child of the '60s. In those days she'd been one of the most famous singers in the glitzy world of rock music -- a sort of Janis Joplin figure.
When we meet her tonight, however, the glory days are far behind.
She hasn't had a hit record in years.
She's used up her youth with too much drinking, too many drugs -- all those excesses that destroy so many who become famous too young.
She's approaching fifty -- unknown to the new generation and forgotten by her own... A long time ago, when her life collapsed, Maggie came close to suicide. The man who saved her was Sir Charles Stafford.
Maggie had been a childhood friend of Sir Charles's son, Sebastian. Because of the family connection, Sir Charles offered her a place to live on his estate in Ireland where she could try to put her life back together. She's been living there for several years when our story opens.
Sir Charles, as you'll see, has a large art collection, but the only picture he seems to care much about is a painting of his wife, now dead.
The role of Maggie Sheridan was written for and is played by Helen Mirren. And it is a considerable change of character for her.
You probably know Helen Mirren as Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison pursuing murderers in the popular Prime Suspect series. In tonight's story, she could use the help of Jane Tennison. She's about to become involved in murder again. First episode, Painted Lady.
PAINTED LADY/Episode 1/Extro by Russell Baker
The painting Maggie is looking for in that eerie basement should have been destroyed.
Michael Longley thinks it has been.
When his burglary went wrong and turned into murder, Longley wanted to destroy any traces of evidence that might have rubbed off on his hired thieves.
Better to lose a painting worth a fortune than to be charged with murder. Longley is a professional crook. He understands that.
The man who's just murdered Sir Charles is not that smart.
Longley orders him to burn the painting, but what Longley sees burning as he drives away is not the stolen picture, but a worthless pile of newspapers.
The painting is now in the hands of a not very bright young killer. He's an impulsive amateur. And, therefore, deadly dangerous to Maggie Sheridan.
For Mobil Masterpiece Theatre, I'm Russell Baker. Goodnight.
Episode number: 1 2
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