We’ll Take Manhattan is the charming BBC drama, written and directed by John McKay, telling the story of renowned photographer David Bailey and model Jean Shrimpton as they travel to New York to shoot an editorial for Vogue Magazine in the 1960s.
Bailey found himself at the centre of a class and cultural clash between his then senior editor, Lady Clare Rendlesham, in a struggle to deliver what each of them interpreted as young, fresh and new. Aneurin Barnard is brilliant as the young Bailey, having finessed the accent and mannerisms with almost alarming similarity, as is Helen McCrory who plays stuck up fashion purist, Lady Clare. As Bailey himself puts it, the 1960′s were definitely swinging, but only for a select few, and it was that world which Bailey crashed in on from a working class background. This particular trip to New York with Jean was a two fingers up at the establishment and tradition of the time, whilst it arguably changed British fashion history and photography for good. For the auteurs out there who are in need of a bit of anti-establishment inspiration, this is definitely one to watch.
We’ll Take Manhatten airs on Thursday, 26th January, BBC 4, 9pm.
Text: Joe Cohen