As we have passed the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana, a resurgence of interest has appeared for ‘The People’s Princess’. Although interest in Diana never truly disappeared; the birth of Prince George in 2013, Princess Charlotte in 2015 and the recent announcement of a third child for William and Kate has kept Diana in the public eye.
Diana and I is a 90-minute drama containing four separate stories, showing the aftermath of Princess Diana’s death and the effect on these ordinary people. We see 19-year-old Jack (Nico Mirallegro) coming to terms with the death of his mother, who dies the same night as Diana. Unhappily married Yasmin (Kiran Sonia Sawar) travels with her daughter to London to see the outpouring of grief in person. Reporter Michael (Laurie Davidson) is on his honeymoon in Paris when news of Diana’s death breaks. Florist Mary (Tamsin Greig) travels from Glasgow to London to sell flowers before the funeral, in the hope of making a great deal of money.
Diana and I is a very well made TV film, with an excellent cast. Running at only 85 minutes long, the four stories are given around 20 minutes each on screen. However, each story could easily be a full film by themselves. This is not a story about Diana, but rather about Jack, Yasmin, Michael and Mary. We follow these characters from the announcement of Diana’s death early on 31st August, until her televised funeral on 6th September 1997.
“I was compelled by the impact that incredible week had on all of us who remember it, whether royalist or not.” – Jeremy Brock, Writer
Through her death and the outpouring of public emotion, the themes of grief, relationships, illness, family, sexuality and religion are explored. There are a few moments of humour, but this is most certainly an emotional drama. You may even find yourself shedding a few tears upon viewing; writer Jeremy Brock (The Last King of Scotland) clearly knows how to bring out these emotions in viewers, although some may find the dramatic sadness in (almost) every scene a little too intense.
As with any good drama, the cast hold it together; any flaw to be found in Diana and I is certainly not from the acting. From those involved, I only previously knew of Greig, Neil Morrissey (Men Behaving Badly) and Gemma Jones (Bridget Jones’s Diary), but I look forward to seeing more from this cast in future productions.
The death of Princess Diana was certainly a massive event, and the impact can still be felt 20 years on. Diana and I may not live on in the same way, but anyone looking for a decent and emotionally engaging drama will find it here. With a screenplay from Brock and directed by Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty), Diana and I is a Big Talk Productions for BBC Two.
Diana and I is available to watch now on BBC iPlayer.