This new Margaret Atwood TV series makes a vital point about women in the spotlight

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Amy Swales
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Back in September, we were excited to hear another of Margaret Atwood’s books was in line for a TV series, but that was before The Handmaid’s Tale actually hit our screens and totally upped the ante for Atwood adaptations.

Now we have big hopes for Netflix’s Alias Grace – and the newly released teaser trailer for the six-part miniseries has definitely cranked up the intrigue.

It also reveals that, as with The Handmaid’s Tale, action will focus on how society views and treats women.

Written and produced by Sarah Polley and directed by Mary Harron, Alias Grace is based on the novel of the same name, telling the story of poor Irish servant Grace Marks, who – along with a stable hand – is convicted of the murder of their employer Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper in Canada in 1843.

The story is based on real-life events, and the adaptation stars Sarah Gadon as Marks, and Anna Paquin as the housekeeper, Nancy Montogomery.

The crime caused a sensation at the time, and debate is ongoing as to whether the real Marks was indeed guilty (she was sentenced to life in prison while the stable hand was hanged; she was pardoned after almost 30 years in jail). In the one-minute clip, the character muses on what’s been written about her, seeing her cast as both “an inhuman female demon” and “an innocent victim”, by turns cunning and devious, and forced against her will. She asks: “How can I be all these different things at once?”

Atwood herself, as she did with The Handmaid’s Tale, will have a cameo, and has said previously that her 1996 book intended to reveal the differences in how the media and society treats men and women accused of a crime.

“When there are crimes of violence, involving both a man and a woman, it usually goes as follows: nobody ever says the man is a nice guy, but opinion often splits about the woman,” she told The Guardian.

“Either she’s the villainous instigator of it all, or else she’s a terrified victim and she only did it because she was frightened for her life. That's the pattern with Grace. And there's evidence supporting both sides.”

The series will be aired on CBC in Canada 25 September, and released on Netflix 3 November.

Images: Netflix



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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.