The Version Interview... Joe Bannister on BBC One's Howard's End

Often considered E.M. Forster’s masterpiece, Howards End is the story of two independent and unconventional sisters seeking love and meaning as they navigate an ever-changing world.

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester By The Sea, Gangs Of New York) brings a fresh take to this adaptation directed by Bafta-winner Hettie Macdonald (White Girl, Fortitude).

The Version caught up with actor Joe Bannister to find out more.


How would you describe Howard's End, is it all lavish scenes and nudity?

No it's not actually! I think there was a conscious decision not to make it a stereotypical lavish period drama because, that's been done to death and what you don't want to do is make something that looks like a parody of itself, likewise there aren't any gratuitous scenes in there because they would be in there for the sake of it.  That said, it is still visually beautiful.

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What can you tell us about your character?

This is a story of two families and Charles is one of the sons and I would say he is quite stuck up and posh so he isn't particularly likeable.

The script is great and the cast is fantastic so it was so fun to play.

What was the vibe like off screen?

It was great, we all got on so well. We would go out as a family to bond off-screen so we really got to know each other.  Matthew McFadden is a long time favourite of mine and I couldn't really hide the fact that I was a fan!

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Does that show on screen?

Yes it does, and Howard's End has lots of big family ensemble scenes rather than lots of scenes with a couple of characters at a time, so there is a very interesting dynamic going on and I think viewers will love it.

You are known for very serious theatre, how did this compare?

Working with people like Matthew, you quickly learn to work to camera and how to walk on screen and things like that so I did learn a lot from him and other people as well and I very much enjoyed the experience. I would love to do more screen work.

Howard's End, Sunday, 9pm, BBC One or catch up via BBC iPlayer.