Shadowlands is a 1985
1985 in television
The year 1985 involved some significant events.Below is a list of television-related events in 1985.For the American TV schedule, see: 1985-86 United States network television schedule.-Events:*January 1 – VH1 launches in the United States....

 television film, written by William Nicholson
William Nicholson (writer)
William Nicholson FRSL is a British screenwriter, playwright, and novelist.-Family:A native of Lewes, Sussex, William Nicholson was raised in a Catholic family in Gloucestershire. By the time he reached his tenth birthday, he had decided to become a writer. He was educated at Downside School,...

, directed by Norman Stone and produced by David M. Thompson
David M. Thompson
David Marcus Thompson is a British film and television producer.Thompson moved to London in 1978, and worked for the BBC as a film programmer and documentary maker. He was the founding head of BBC Films...

 for BBC Wales
BBC Wales
BBC Cymru Wales is a division of the British Broadcasting Corporation for Wales. Based at Broadcasting House in the Llandaff area of Cardiff, it directly employs over 1200 people, and produces a broad range of television, radio and online services in both the Welsh and English languages.Outside...

. Its subject is the relationship between Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

University don
A don is a fellow or tutor of a college or university, especially traditional collegiate universities such as Oxford and Cambridge in England.The term — similar to the title still used for Catholic priests — is a historical remnant of Oxford and Cambridge having started as ecclesiastical...

 and author, C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis
Clive Staples Lewis , commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as "Jack", was a novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist from Belfast, Ireland...

 and Joy Gresham.

It has subsequently been adapted by Nicholson as a stage play and then as a cinema film. The film began life as a script entitled I Call it Joy written for Thames Television
Thames Television
Thames Television was a licensee of the British ITV television network, covering London and parts of the surrounding counties on weekdays from 30 July 1968 until 31 December 1992....

 by Brian Sibley
Brian Sibley
Brian Sibley is an English writer. He is author of over 100 hours of radio drama and has written and presented hundreds of radio documentaries, features and weekly programmes.- Early life :...

 and Norman Stone. Sibley was credited on the BBC film as 'consultant' and went on to write the book, Shadowlands: The True Story of C. S. Lewis and Joy Davidman.


The story follows Lewis as he meets an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 fan, Joy Gresham, whom he befriends and eventually marries. The story also deals with his struggle with personal pain and grief: Lewis preaches that one should endure suffering with patience, but finds that the simple answers he had preached no longer apply when Joy becomes afflicted with cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 and eventually dies.


The original TV film starred Joss Ackland
Joss Ackland
Sidney Edmond Jocelyn Ackland CBE , known as Joss Ackland, is an English actor who has appeared in more than 130 films and numerous television roles.-Early life:...

 as Lewis, with Claire Bloom
Claire Bloom
Claire Bloom is an English film and stage actress.-Early life:Bloom was born in the North London suburb of Finchley, the daughter of Elizabeth and Edward Max Blume, who worked in sales...

 as his lover and wife Joy Gresham. It won BAFTA Awards in 1986 for Best Play and Best Actress (Bloom).


It was subsequently adapted for the stage, opening at the Queen's Theatre
Queen's Theatre
The Queen's Theatre is a West End theatre located in Shaftesbury Avenue in the City of Westminster. It opened on 8 October 1907 as a twin to the neighbouring Gielgud Theatre which opened ten months earlier. Both theatres were designed by W.G.R...

 in London on 23 October 1989, running until 8 September 1990. The stage version and subsequent movie gave Joy Davidman only one stepson instead of two. The production was directed by Elijah Moshinsky and starred Nigel Hawthorne
Nigel Hawthorne
Sir Nigel Barnard Hawthorne, CBE was an English actor, perhaps best remembered for his role as Sir Humphrey Appleby, the Permanent Secretary in the 1980s sitcom Yes Minister and the Cabinet Secretary in its sequel, Yes, Prime Minister. For this role he won four BAFTA Awards during the 1980s in the...

 as Lewis with Jane Lapotaire
Jane Lapotaire
Jane Lapotaire is a British actress.She studied at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the 1960s. Her role in the title role of Marie Curie first brought her to wide attention...

 as Joy. It won Best Play in the Evening Standard Awards
Evening Standard Awards
The Evening Standard Theatre Awards, established in 1955, are presented annually for outstanding achievements in London Theatre. Sponsored by the Evening Standard newspaper, they are announced in late November or early December...

 for 1990.

Hawthorne successfully took the role of Lewis to Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

, playing at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre
Brooks Atkinson Theatre
The Brooks Atkinson Theatre is a Broadway theater located at 256 West 47th Street in Manhattan.Designed by architect Herbert J. Krapp, it was constructed as the Mansfield Theatre by the Chanin brothers in 1926. After 1933, the theatre fell into relative disuse until 1945, when Michael Myerberg...

 from November 1990 to April 1991 and again directed by Moshinsky. Hawthorne co-starred in New York, with Jane Alexander
Jane Alexander
Jane Alexander is an American actress, author, and former director of the National Endowment for the Arts. Although perhaps best known for playing the female lead in The Great White Hope on both stage and screen, Alexander has played a wide array of roles in both theater and film and has committed...

 as Joy, who was now given her maiden name of Joy Davidman. Hawthorne won a 1991 Tony award for Best Actor, while Nicholson picked up a nomination for Best Play.

In 1993, the play was adapted into a film of the same name
Shadowlands (film)
Shadowlands is a 1993 British biographical film directed by Richard Attenborough. The screenplay by William Nicholson is based on his 1985 television production and 1989 stage adaptation of the same name. The original television film began life as a script entitled I Call it Joy written for Thames...

 directed by Richard Attenborough
Richard Attenborough
Richard Samuel Attenborough, Baron Attenborough , CBE is a British actor, director, producer and entrepreneur. As director and producer he won two Academy Awards for the 1982 film Gandhi...

 with a screenplay by Nicholson, co-starring Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins
Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins, KBE , best known as Anthony Hopkins, is a Welsh actor of film, stage and television...

 and Debra Winger
Debra Winger
Mary Debra Winger is an American actress. Three-times an Oscar nominee, she received awards for acting in Terms of Endearment, for which she won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress in 1983, and in A Dangerous Woman, for which she won the Tokyo International Film Festival...

, winning Oscar nominations for both Nicholson and Winger.

The first major revival of the play, starring Charles Dance
Charles Dance
Walter Charles Dance, OBE is an English actor, screenwriter and director. Dance typically plays assertive bureaucrats or villains. His most famous roles are Guy Perron in The Jewel in the Crown , Dr Clemens, the doctor of penitentiary Fury 161, who becomes Ellen Ripley's confidante in Alien 3 ,...

 as Lewis and Janie Dee
Janie Dee
Janie Dee is an English actress and singer.She is married to the actor Rupert Wickham.-Theatre:Dee is presently part of the Globe Theatre 2011 season playing The Countess of Roussillion in Shakespeare's "All's Well that Ends Well" and in October she goes to Nottingham Playhouse to play Amanda in ...

 as Joy, premiered at Cambridge Arts Theatre
Cambridge Arts Theatre
Cambridge Arts Theatre is a 666-seat theatre on Peas Hill in central Cambridge, England. The theatre presents a varied mix of drama, dance, opera and pantomime. It attracts some of the highest-quality touring productions in the country, as well as many shows direct from, or prior to, seasons in the...

 on 5 September 2007 before touring the UK. The production, directed by Michael Barker-Carven, transferred to the Wyndham's Theatre
Wyndham's Theatre
Wyndham's Theatre is a West End theatre, one of two opened by the actor/manager Charles Wyndham . Located on Charing Cross Road, in the City of Westminster, it was designed by W.G.R. Sprague about 1898, the architect of six other London theatres between then and 1916...

 on 3 October 2007 for an eleven-week season before transferring to the Novello Theatre
Novello Theatre
The Novello Theatre is a West End theatre on Aldwych, in the City of Westminster.-History:The theatre was built as one of a pair with the Aldwych Theatre on either side of the Waldorf Hotel, both being designed by W. G. R. Sprague. The theatre opened as the Waldorf Theatre on 22 May 1905, and was...

 where it ran from 21 December 2007 to 23 February 2008.


C. S. Lewis as the film concludes:
"Why love if losing hurts so much? I have no answers any more. Only the life I have lived. Twice in that life I've been given the choice: as a boy and as a man. The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering. The pain now is part of the happiness then. That's the deal."

Joy in the stage version:
"See yourself in the mirror, you're separate from yourself. See the world in the mirror, you're separate from the world. I don't want that separation anymore."

See also

  • A Grief Observed
    A Grief Observed
    A Grief Observed is a collection of C. S. Lewis's reflections on the experience of bereavement following the death of his wife, Joy Gresham, in 1960. The book was first published in 1961 under the pseudonym N.W. Clerk as Lewis wished to avoid identification as the author...

    — Lewis's own chronicle of his reactions following Joy Gresham's death
  • Shadowlands — Lewis's biography by Brian Sibley
    Brian Sibley
    Brian Sibley is an English writer. He is author of over 100 hours of radio drama and has written and presented hundreds of radio documentaries, features and weekly programmes.- Early life :...

  • Shadowlands: The True Story of C S Lewis and Joy Davidman by Brian Sibley
    Brian Sibley
    Brian Sibley is an English writer. He is author of over 100 hours of radio drama and has written and presented hundreds of radio documentaries, features and weekly programmes.- Early life :...

    , Hodder & Stoughton (new edition 2005) ISBN 9780340908655
  • Lenten Lands: My Childhood with Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis by Douglas Gresham
    Douglas Gresham
    Douglas Gresham is an American-born British biographer and film producer, resident in Malta, and one of the two stepsons of C. S. Lewis.- Personal life :...

    , Macmillan (USA 1988) ISBN 0025455702.
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