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Winner of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts 2003 award for new director fiction, awarded to Brian Hill and winner of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts award for new writer, awarded to Anna Maloney


Channel 4

1 x 60 minutes
Transmitted 17 October 2002
A Century Films production for
Channel 4

Clare - Hermione Norris
Pete - Mark Strong
Jackie - Tamsin Greig
Rob - Daniel Ryan
Clare's Mum - Polly Adams
Sally - Mika Simmons
Michelle - Lynne Pearson
Roger - Daryl Aukland
Men's group - Frances Carrigan, Murray McArthur, Mark Heal, Dave Spinx and Andrew Whipp

Second camera operator

Michael Timney
Sound recordist
Ian Maclagan
Dubbing mixer
George Foulgham
Julian Stewart Lindsay
Director of photography
Tony Coldwell
Stuart Briggs
Line producer
Jane Nicholson
Executive producers
Judy Counihan and Liz Warner
Written by
Anna Maloney
Katie Bailiff
Brian Hill


Falling Apart (2002)

One British woman in four experiences domestic violence at some stage in her life.

Falling Apart is a reality-based drama that charts the course of a marriage from its blissful beginning to its violent end. Clare meets Pete and finds him sexy, amusing and passionate. What she doesn’t know is that he has a problem with anger. Over the course of the film, Pete’s problem is revealed and Clare suffers the consequences.

This is the first television drama from award-winning documentary maker Brian Hill, who used hand-held digital video cameras to give a unique verité feel to the film. Hill encouraged the actors to improvise during action scenes and not to worry about where cameras were positioned. These sequences were then shot as if they were actuality.

First-time writer Anna Maloney based her hard-hitting screenplay on interviews with men and women who have directly experienced domestic abuse, giving Falling Apart a sharply focussed realism.


Photograph: Alex Bailey
"Based on real testimonies and filmed in a drama-documentary style, you get the banal dialogue and feeble justifications that usually come with [domestic violence] situations. Rather than detract from the drama’s power, this gives it an unmistakable ring of truth."
Mary Nokakovich, The Guardian.

"As disturbing an account of a modern marriage as I have ever endured on television … one of the best acted pieces I have seen all year."
Christopher Matthew, The Daily Mail.

"Falling Apart’ is more of a case study than a drama, but that does not diminish its raw power or authenticity."
David Chater, The Times.

"Both the dialogue and direction had the confidence to be understated, and there were stunning central performances from Mark Strong and Hermione Norris. ‘Falling Apart’ was extremely powerful."
James Walton, The Daily Telegraph.

"This sparse but powerful film combines a real sense of menace without resorting to easy demonisation. Doubtless a few viewers will be squirming in their seats."
The Sunday Telegraph.

"No stereotypes or promises of happy endings here … powerful drama from first-time writer Anna Maloney."
Dorota Nosowicz, The Observer.