Helena Bonham Carter Is Playing Elizabeth Taylor In A BBC Biopic! 5 Reasons Why It Will Be Better Than Liz 'n' Dick

12 February 2013 by

We love a good biopic. And we love Helena Bonham Carter. So the news that BBC4 is making a film about Elizabeth Tayor and Richard Burton starring Helena as Liz - and Dominic West as Burton - has made us very excited indeed. 

We're also excited because - let's face it - the last attempt to bring the Taylor/Burton love story to the screen was a bit of a disaster. If 'bit' means 'total'. The TV movie Liz 'n' Dick - starring Lindsay Lohan - was universally panned when it screened late last year, with LiLo's performance being the main cause of complaint.

But tomorrow is another day, and all that. And we have much higher hopes for this new biopic, which will cover a specific period in Taylor and Burton's life - after they divorce and star in the play Private Parts on Broadway.

Here's 5 reasons why it will be better

1. Lindsay Lohan won't be in it.

Let's just get this one out of the way, shall we? Lindsay Lohan can be great (Mean Girls, A Prairie Home Companion, Parent Trap). But she can also be a bit rubbish sometimes. When she landed the part of Liz Taylor some said she was "born" to play the role of an alcoholic actress addicted to drama. They said with a knowing wink that it was actually a stroke of genius. And then they saw the result.

2. But Helen Bonham Carter will

And as we all know, Helen Bonham Carter is, quite frankly, ace - most recently with a brillaint turn in Les Miserables. Rachel Weisz was originally tipped to play the part, but reportedly pulled out. We think this is a blessing in disguise. Liz Taylor needs an air of madness about her - and Helena Bonham Carter is perfect for this, in the best possible way of course.

3. It concentrates on a specific period

Instead of trying to cram the entirety of Taylor and Burton's relationship into one film - a la Liz 'n' Dick - the BBC's drama will concentrate on a specific time in their lives - the couple’s appearance in an ill-fated production of Noël Coward’s Private Lives in 1983. They were divorced at the time - and also played a divorced couple in the play. A year after the production, Burton died aged 58.

4. Dominic West will be ace

Dominic West is fast emerging as one of the most versatile actors around.We first loved him as US cop McNulty in The Wire, of course. But since then, he's played a dashing TV presenter in The Hour, recently starred in My Fair Lady on the stage and, most memorably, won a BAFTA for his terrifyly convincing portrayal of serial killer Fred West in An Appropriate Adult. We can't wait to see what he does with Burton...

5. It's the BBC

And the BBC know how to make a good biopic, as evidenced by last December's The Girl - which told the story of Hitchcock's relationship with actress Tippi Hedren - played by Sienna Miller. It will also be BBC4's last ever original drama (sob), before it winds down its productions to concentrate on imports instead.


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