Doctor Who News Jenna-Louise Coleman appears in Room at the Top

Published on May 30th, 2012 | by Philip Bates

Room at the Top Dispute Settled

Jenna-Louise Coleman appears in Room at the TopA drama starring the new companion, Jenna-Louise Coleman, is set to screen on BBC4 after a copyright issue delayed its release.

Room at the Top is an adaptation of John Braine’s 1957 novel of the same name, and was originally due to air at 9pm on 7th April 2011. But the two hour-long episodes, with a cast led by Matthew McNulty (The Syndicate; Toast) and  Maxine Peake (Dinnnerladies; Silk), was pulled from the schedule after a dispute about whether the broadcasting rights had been secured.

Braine’s estate is represented by David Higman Associates and Remus Films, and the former sold the rights to Great Meadow Productions; a sale which Remus Films challenged. As Mark Lawson wrote for The Guardian:

“Every year, movies are delayed and theatre, TV and radio productions abandoned because of a copyright claim from a third party who claims to have signed an exclusive deal… Though it is no consolation to the frustrated producers and viewers, there is a certain neatness to the case turning on whether a book with this title may have been illegally sublet.”

Jenna-Louise plays Susan Brown, the daughter of the richest man in Warley, where the protagonist, Joe Lampton (McNulty) escapes to, and the two date. However, Lampton, instead, falls in love with Alice Aisgill (Peake), a married woman ten years his senior. Coleman’s on-screen father is played by Kevin McNally (Life on Mars; Spooks), who starred as Hugo Lang in Colin Baker’s debut as the Doctor, The Twin Dilemma.

Though the transmission date of Room at the Top is still unknown, Kasterborous would hazard a guess that it’ll air near Christmas – when Jenna takes over as companion on Doctor Who – and a new edition of the original novel will also hit shelves!


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About the Author


When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything.

9 Responses to Room at the Top Dispute Settled

  1. avatar Gemini71 says:

    Whilst the rights dispute is over, I remain unconvinced that we will see it get a broadcast date in 2012, or even in the first few months of 2013. It was originally part of a short season of adaptations of novels that had a certain romantic theme, so the likelihood is that BBC Four won’t rearrange the schedule already worked out for the months that make up autumn television, and put it on ice permanently, or make drawn-out plans to put it on DVD, which means it will come out in the shops in 2014(if we’re lucky). The reason for my doubts is that I enquired about the situation repeatedly, without receiving a response, so it is a case of believing in a broadcast date when I see it in Radio Times.

    • There is still a chance that BBC 4 will repeat the season (as they often do) with the missing show reinstated…

  2. avatar Gemini71 says:


    As much I admire your optimism that we will get to see Room At The Top on BBC Four after a year of waiting, the length of time the legal matter that prompted its sudden, eleventh hour removal from the April 11th 2011 BBC4 schedule and the prohibition of any details about the negotiations to resolve the situation being made public, will have led to it slipping quietly out of the minds of those who organise the TV schedules, and they will have been busy scheduling new dramas and documentaries that had been made during the time between the adaptation of John Braine’s novel being withdrawn and the announcement of it being cleared for broadcast. This, in turn, means that there is no real likelihood of a transmission slot being found anytime during the last five months of 2012, or anytime during 2013, for that matter. Realistically, the best we can hope for is a possible broadcast date in 2015.

  3. avatar Jennifer says:

    Hi, can you say why you think it will be so long before they transmit this? Surely now they’ve made an announcement that they are waiting for a slot in their schedules to transmit the programme that means they have to? Wouldn’t they have taken the website down if it was going to be another 3 years before we could see it?! Also. Why would a DVD release take so long, it never has with other similar dramas? Thanks in advance just been desperate to see this for so long! You seem to know more than I do – I’ve also tried to contact the BBC on numerous occasions and not got anything back just an automated response ….

  4. avatar Gemini71 says:

    Jennifer, if they were as keen to make up for the disappointment many viewers were forced to endure throughout the year-long wait as they claimed to be, they would’ve worked to find a suitable gap in the schedules that they can put it. As it stands, three months have gone by, and still no information is available that suggests a broadcast date is on the verge of officially being announced. The problem with promising that it is going to be broadcast is that they said it before they examined the forthcoming evening schedules for BBC Four, and they’ve probably found that the new programmes have already been given broadcast slots in the months prior to BBC revealing that the rights dispute was at an end. They have practically made a promise that they might not be able to keep in regards to a new airdate for the delayed drama programme. They have instead talked of it coming to BBC Four in the near future, which really means nothing at all. That choice of words could mean it might be shown in two months or even in another two years. The vagueness of the reply they gave in the FAQ section indicates a lack of willingness to be swift in finding the right schedule gaps in which to place the drama. If I were you, I would not cling onto the belief that we will see it before 2012 is over. It will, if we’re lucky, end up on DVD next year. I’ve given up hoping to see it during this one.

  5. avatar Jennifer says:

    Thank you for your answer – I’m really angry with the BBC it is nigh on impossible to get to talk to an actual person about anything when you want information about such matters – I think you’re right though I’ve given up hope now of seeing but I think it’s so unfair on the actors and other creative people involved in making it – plus with the fantastic Maxine peake’s popularity, the rising star of Matthew mcnulty and the fact that Jenna Louise Coleman will be in the hugely successful doctor who, there will be a good audience for this and if they trailered it in the right way I think it would do really well. There’s such interest. It’s a shame the bbc bothered to make any announcement at all really. Have you tried to contact them? Thanks again for your response ….

  6. avatar Gemini71 says:

    Jennifer, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that Room At The Top has been supposedly given a slot between 22nd September and 28th September; the bad news is that there is no word on whar day it is to be shown, if indeed it will be. Given the amount of time we’ve been kept waiting, I remain sceptical that we will get to see it during that week, near to Xmas 202, or even during 2013. Our hopes have been raised, only to realise that the gesture might well be a hollow one. What is the use of them saying it is going to be broadcast and then failing to reveal an official transmission date? I really don’t think that any amount of reshuffling the schedules will guarantee it gets a place in BBC Four’s evening line-up for that week. As far as I can make out, the opportunity to find a gap to place it in has been lost whilst the legal challenge was in force.

  7. avatar CD93 says:

    Room at the Top has been confirmed as airing on Wednesday 26th September. Roll on Jenna.

  8. avatar Jennifer says:

    Fantastic !!!! How about part two though?! The week after at the same time?

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