Rapunzel (2007/8). Ed Roe, writer. Hat Trick/BBC Northern Ireland Production for BBC One.
The first fairy tale in the BBC Fairy Tales anthology is Rapunzel, updated by Ed Roe (Smack The Pony, Teachers, No Angels). The original fairy tale told the story of a girl with incredibly long hair, thought to be based on the legend of Saint Barbara, who was locked in a tower by her father and was made famous by the Brothers Grimm, who coined the catchphrase 'Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair'.
"For me the real challenge was trying to find a modern equivalent for the story," says writer Ed Roe. "With fairy tales, you're operating in a world of fantasy, where the drama is externalised and where the characters are generally iconic and uncomplicated, with clearly defined goals and moral positions."
"On a structural level Rapunzel, is a fairly small, intimate drama with a love triangle at its core, and love triangles are pretty much the basis of everything I write," continues Ed.
Ed's updated Rapunzel is set in the competitive world of tennis and tells the story of a failing male tennis player, Jimmy Stojkovic (Lee Ingleby). Jimmy is persuaded by his errant father, Sava (Shaun Williamson) to disguise himself as a woman in a final attempt to win the grand slam tennis final.
Ed continues: "The main character, Jimmy, is a guy who is struggling to be the hero, he constantly falls short of his own and everyone else's expectations of what it is to be a man. This sense of inadequacy, of not being the prince he feels he should be, disables him."
The plan goes awry when Jimmy falls in love with the beautiful reigning champion, Billy Jane Brooke (Charity Wakefield) much to the horror of her over protective mother (Geraldine James).
As to the enduring appeal of fairy tales, Ed adds: "I guess they appeal to the side of us that yearns for a sense of order to the world. As we grow up, we all lose a conviction that good will triumph over bad and gradually come to realise that we're not destined for a happy ending. Indulging in a fairy tale allows us briefly to recapture that innocence."