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Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill - 'A Perfect Darling' (1974)

'A Perfect Darling' is episode five (of seven) in the drama series Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill.  It was produced by Thames Television and first broadcast on Tuesday 19 November 1974 (ITV, 9-10pm).


Spanning the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill is a lavish biopic about the beautiful, strong-minded socialite and mother of Winston Churchill.  Originally broadcast to coincide with the centenary of William Churchill's birth, 30 November 1974, the series was praised by the TV Times as 'a superb and important television production'. 

Jennie Jerome, the Brooklyn-born daughter of a millionaire businessman, enjoys all the advantages of a privileged upbringing.  In adulthood, as the wife of politician Randolph Churchill, she is politically aware and devoted to numerous projects.

In the episode 'A Perfect Darling', which is set towards the end of the Victorian period, ZoŽ plays the small but important role of Pearl Craigie, an Anglo-American author and friend of Jennie.  This is Zoe's first portrayal on television of a real, rather than fictional, person.

Pearl's interest in creative writing makes her the ideal choice to assist Jennie with the publication of a new, high-brow literary magazine, The Anglo-Saxon Review.  The magazine boasts talented, well-known contributors ranging from Henry James to Oscar Wilde, thanks to Jennie's social status and transatlantic connections. 

When the horrors of the Boer War draw Jennie's attention away from cultural pursuits and towards political engagement, Pearl is called upon to help raise funds for a more ambitious endeavour than the magazine: a hospital ship to care for soldiers wounded during the conflict.

As Pearl is a talented pianist, Jennie asks her to take part in fundraising concerts.  While Pearl has reservations about the British troops' actions in South Africa, she is nevertheless won over by Jennie's confidence and tenacity.  She warmly wishes her friend great success as Jennie prepares to supervise the provision of healthcare on-board the ship.  As is the case with many of the individuals Jennie encounters, Pearl is extremely impressed by the socialite's enthusiasm and boundless energy.


Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchill ... Lee Remick
Winston Churchill ... Warren Clarke
Jack Churchill ... Malcolm Stoddard
Edward, Prince of Wales ... Thorley Waters
George Cornwallis-West ... Christopher Cazenove
Col. Cornwallis-West ... . John Harvey
Patsy Cornwallis-West ... Brenda Kaye
Eleanor Warrender ... Patricia Garwood
Pearl Craigie ... ZoŽ Wanamaker
Leonie ... Barbara Perkins
Daisy Warwick ... Penelope Lee
Sir Henry Wolff ... Charles Lloyd Pack
Lord Curzon ... Edgar Wreford
Lady Curzon ... Patricia Macrae
Arthur Balfour ... Adrian Ropes
War Office Major ... Roger Hammond
Medical Officer ... John Barcroft


Writer: Julian Mitchell
Director: James Cellan Jones
Producer: Andrew Brown
Executive Producer: Stella Richman
Original Music: Tom McCall and Andre Previn
Designer: Frederick Pusey
Costume Designers: Jane Robinson and Jill Silverside


Like ZoŽ, Pearl Craigie was born in America and moved to London soon afterwards.

Zoe played Jean Kennerly, the friend of another wealthy, influential American woman, in Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story (1987), a biopic that is arguably even more lavish than Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill.


'A Perfect Darling' is included in the Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill Region 1, Region 2 and Region 4 DVDs.  In addition, viewers in the US can purchase it and the other episodes in the series to watch online and download.

Related links

Rex Features: 'A Perfect Darling' photo

IMDb: 'A Perfect Darling' programme details

Wikipedia: Pearl Craigie biography

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