Screen One (1985–2002)
4 user 1 critic

She's Been Away 

Locked away in an asylum as a young girl because she was an embarrassment to her family, then forgotten, an old woman returns to what's left of her kin and to her memories.


Peter Hall


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Peggy Ashcroft ... Lillian Huckle
Geraldine James ... Harriet Ambrose
James Fox ... Hugh Ambrose
Jackson Kyle Jackson Kyle ... Dominic Ambrose
Rosalie Crutchley ... Gladys
Rachel Kempson ... Matilda
Rebecca Pidgeon ... Young Lillian
Cryss Jean Healey Cryss Jean Healey ... Young Margaret
Leslie Goodall Leslie Goodall ... Old Edward (as Lesley Goodall)
Edgar Goodall Edgar Goodall ... Thomas
René Zagger ... Young Thomas
Barnaby Holm Barnaby Holm ... Young Edward
Donald Douglas ... Lillian's Father
Hugh Lloyd Hugh Lloyd ... George
Brid Brennan ... Lillian's Nurse


A woman who has been institutionalized for 60 years for the "crime" of not conforming to the 1920s image of what a proper young woman should be (in other words, she did what she wanted and didn't care what anyone else thought about it) is finally released to the custody of her family, consisting of her grand-nephew and his family. At first she keeps a self-imposed distance from the relatives, but she soon finds herself coming around to her nephew's wife, a free spirit who is under the thumb of her cold and controlling husband. Written by

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16 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

8 October 1989 (UK) See more »

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Did You Know?


Last film role of Peggy Ashcroft. See more »


Gonna Have a Party
Music by Steve Jeffries
Carlin Recorded Music Library
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User Reviews

Superb film
27 January 2003 | by ian_harrisSee all my reviews

Like many "civilised" nations, we used to institutionalise people for all manner of reasons, including left-handedness and impetuous behaviour. Lillian, played brilliantly by Peggy Ashcroft, falls into the latter category. This film is the story of her return to civilisation.

Geraldine James is excellent as the (possibly equally impetuous) wife of the nephew (a priggish James Fox) who takes Lillian on. A child actor unknown to me, Jackson Kyle, makes an unforgettable cameo as the son, possibly the most pompous little git ever. A young Rebecca Pidgeon plays Young Lillian in the flashbacks.

It has Poliakoff written all over it - out of character impetuous behaviour is one of his trademarks. I am a fan of Poliakoff's and this is one of his best pieces for TV. Indeed, this is TV film drama at its very, very best. Highly recommended.

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