Watched: Margot!

This Post is one in a special week celebrating  Echostains I year Birthday blog

I watched the previous two of these BBC  4 biopics so I thought I might as well catch up on the last one – Dame Margot Fonteyn, Prima ballerina: probably the most famous ballerina.  She was played by Anne-Marie Duff and played very well I may add.

The programme opens with Margot’s husband Panamanian diplomat and  playboy Tito  (Dr Robert Arias)  who is in jail. But Margot flies back to London from Panama because  the show must go on…..  Tito is released and reunited with his wife.  He hasn’t got much time for the ballet, which he makes clear, he is  more concerned with the political intrigues he is involved in.

anne marie duff excellent

Derek Jacobi plays Sir Frederick Ashton, The Royal Ballet’s leading choreographer and friend.  He is reminded of the ‘old days’ a lot and is always pumping Fonteyn about information of her husbands prowess and cringes about ‘Coppelia’ in Wigan.  From his innuendos’ we gather that Margot has got a bit of history and that they both have known each other a long time.


Duff and Huisman

Nureyev is played by Michiel Huisman. I was a bit dubious at first, but he and Duff looked great together on stage, though the real dancing was done by doubles.   Whilst Nureyev joins the ballet as a promising newcomer, Tito is preoccupied with buying weapons for his cause.  I must admit, I didn’t like the crude boorish Tito one bit.  I can only think that Fonteyn liked the subterfuge and excitement.


just good friends? probably

Nureyev  moves into theEmbassy (Fonteyn’s home) with the lonely Fonteyn.  The divide between Tito and his wife is ever-widening.  He refers to her as a child of the theatre in front of their friends.  Meanwhile things are hotting up with the young Nureyev and the older Fonteyn.  They dance together and soon become lovers (or so the ‘story’ goes).  According to Auntie Fred  Ashton, Nureyev has improved her dance……..


Of course Fonteyn denies any unprofessional attachment.  Nureyev has his gay lovers, which he brings back to the house.  But these two dance like a dream and Tito is totally uninterested in the dance apart from the money it brings in to buy arms with.   It  is inevitable that he eventually does go too far………  but that’s not the end of the story…….

the very photogenic nureyev

 Bit by bit the ‘sacrifices’ her need for surgery, the ‘debt’ that she owes to her mother are revealed.  Yet Fonteyn knows that she has nothing, except prestige.  The woman is looking for something else  and perhaps that is what she sees in Tito, – that he sees her as a woman not a ballerina.


The film is interspersed with interviews, which reveal quite a lot about Fonteyn.  It’s what she doesn’t say that reveals the most.  In one interview, she does say that she likes hiding behind the characters she plays, and that it is like leading a second life.  She also likes to ‘put things away in boxes’ not to be thought of again.  This reminded me of Enid Blyton, escaping from reality.  Perhaps Gracie Fields escaped in a different way, literally – but was torn by her roots and loyalty towards the troops and her Italian husband.  On the face of it, it would seem that these three women didn’t have much in common, – but perhaps this was the theme of the biopics.

Watch the whole programme HERE

Read about Fonteyn’s time as a dancer and how things have changed now for dancers HERE

Smashing article about this programme and some information about the making of it HERE

Also watched in this series: Enid Blyton

Upstairs Downstairs series 5

6 thoughts on “Watched: Margot!

  1. What a lovely blog you have! I enjoyed browsing it. Thank you for signing up for the Flashback Challenge! Do you know which books you’ll read and review yet? Yay, literarti level!

  2. Thanks Aarti! I try to blog every day – nearly managed it last year apart from 3 or 4 days, so it’s my personal challenge this year to do it. I’m not sure yet, You know, I may read an Enid Blyton book or perhaps the Ingolsby Legends, Grimms fairytales, the Andrew Lang fairy books…defintely ‘Titus Groan’ (Titus Groan, Gormanghast, but not Titus alone). I’m going to have to think about this…maybe some Dickens. Going to try to choose books that have contributed in some way to my personality and the way I am. Your blog is really buzzing Aarti – you sure LOVE your books! Thanks for stopping by1
    Kind Regards

  3. Talking of Enid Blyton, I am glad to inform you that I have just published a book on the writer, titled, The Famous Five: A Personal Anecdotage (

    Stephen Isabirye

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