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New pictures released of BBC drama telling the story of Welshmen who took part in first Viagra trial

14 Sep 2023 4 minute read
Image: BBC

The BBC has released pictures of a new drama about five ordinary Welshmen who take part in the trial of a new drug which would later become Viagra.

Co-commissioned with BBC Wales and made by Quay Street Productions and Boom, ‘Men Up’ is inspired by the remarkable true story of one of the world’s first medical trials for the drug, held in Swansea’s Morriston Hospital in 1994.

Image: BBC

The real 1994 trial not only transformed the lives of the medics and patients involved; but also changed the lives of millions worldwide.

The drug quickly became one of the most controversial and profitable in history, reshaping how we talk about sexual and mental health in the process.

Image: BBC

The feature-length drama is written by Matthew Barry (Industry, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) and is coming to BBC One and BBC iPlayer later this year.

The new pictures feature cast members Iwan Rheon (Wolf, Game of Thrones, Misfits), Aneurin Barnard (Dunkirk, The Pact), Phaldut Sharma (Sherwood, Romantic Getaway), Paul Rhys (A Discovery of Witches, Rellick), Steffan Rhodri (House of the Dragon, Temple), Mark Lewis Jones (Gangs of London, The Phantom of the Open), and Joanna Page (Gavin & Stacey, Dolittle).

Image: BBC

As previously announced, the drama also stars Alex Roach (Killing Eve, Sanditon, No Offence), Alexandria Riley (The Pembrokeshire Murders, The Pact), Nathan Sussex (It’s A Sin, Hollyoaks), Lisa Palfrey (Sex Education, COBRA), Dyfan Dwyfor (A Very English Scandal, Requiem) and Katy Wix (Ghosts, Stath Lets Flats).

In this fictionalised account, Meurig (Iwan Rheon) yearns for intimacy with his wife, Ffion (Alex Roach).

He loves her with all his heart but feels trapped by his inability to rekindle the spark in their marriage. He’ll do anything to reignite the flames. Anything but talk to her.

There’s Tommy (Paul Rhys), a gay man who desperately lies about his sexuality because the trial was set up for straight sex. Spurred on by his friend and clinical nurse Moira Davies (Joanna Page), how far will his lies go to find happiness?

Image: BBC

Colin (Steffan Rhodri) lives an isolated life with his crossword puzzles after his wife’s death. He thinks he’s found the one in Teresa (Lisa Palfrey), his phone pal from the Lonely Hearts column. But when she asks to meet in person, fear sets in.

It’s been so long since he’s been with a woman. What if she wants to consummate their budding romance?

Peetham ‘Pete’ Shah (Phaldut Sharma) has a seemingly perfect middle-class existence. A nice job, a wonderful wife in Alys (Alexandria Riley) who has a new lust for life hosting lingerie and sex toy parties. But they’ve lost their spark.

Trial

Blaming his impotency, he sees a fix-all problem in this tiny white pill (which didn’t become blue until much later). Can it shrink the gulf between them?

And Eddie (Mark Lewis Jones), a bulldog of a bloke. A seemingly strong man but beneath the surface is a vulnerability. Desperate to please his wife, can this trial fix his problems?

‘Men Up’ explores the fragilities of our characters in pursuit of their ultimate reward – the return of a romantic connection in their lives.

But as the drug brings the hope of a return to that once-lost intimacy, the men realise the hard work has only just begun. The trial will take them to some very unexpected places and force them to re-assess their lives.

‘Men Up’ is a funny, frank drama about masculinity, mental health, family, friendship and love.

The programme has received Welsh Government support via Creative Wales and is produced in association with Cineflix Rights as exclusive worldwide distribution partner. Quay Street Productions and Boom are both part of ITV Studios.


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Mawkernewek
6 months ago

Should the BBC be doing an extended advert for Big Pharma?

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