New picture released for feature-length drama Men Up

The drama is coming to BBC One and BBC iPlayer later this year

PHOTO: L-R: Aneurin Barnard, Joanna Page, Iwan Rheon, Paul Rhys, Mark Lewis Jones, Steffan Rhodri, Phaldut Sharma (Image: BBC/Quay Street Productions/ Tom Jackson)



The BBC has released brand new pictures from Men Up, the forthcoming drama about five ordinary Welshmen who embark on an extraordinary journey when they take part in the trial of a new drug which would later become Viagra.

Co-commissioned with BBC Wales and made by Quay Street Productions and Boom, Men Up is inspired by the remarkable true story of one of the world's first medical trials for the drug, held in Swansea’s Morriston Hospital in 1994.

The feature-length drama is written by Matthew Barry (Industry, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) and is coming to BBC One and BBC iPlayer later this year.

The new pictures feature cast members Iwan Rheon (Wolf, Game of Thrones, Misfits), Aneurin Barnard (Dunkirk, The Pact), Phaldut Sharma (Sherwood, Romantic Getaway), Paul Rhys (A Discovery of Witches, Rellick), Steffan Rhodri (House of the Dragon, Temple), Mark Lewis Jones (Gangs of London, The Phantom of the Open), and Joanna Page (Gavin & Stacey, Dolittle).

As previously announced, the drama also stars Alex Roach (Killing Eve, Sanditon, No Offence), Alexandria Riley (The Pembrokeshire Murders, The Pact), Nathan Sussex (It’s A Sin, Hollyoaks), Lisa Palfrey (Sex Education, COBRA), Dyfan Dwyfor (A Very English Scandal, Requiem) and Katy Wix (Ghosts, Stath Lets Flats).

The real 1994 trial not only transformed the lives of the medics and patients involved; but also changed the lives of millions worldwide. The drug quickly became one of the most controversial and profitable in history, reshaping how we talk about sexual and mental health in the process...

In this fictionalised account, Meurig (Iwan Rheon) yearns for intimacy with his wife, Ffion (Alex Roach). He loves her with all his heart but feels trapped by his inability to rekindle the spark in their marriage. He’ll do anything to reignite the flames. Anything but talk to her.

There’s Tommy (Paul Rhys), a gay man who desperately lies about his sexuality because the trial was set up for straight sex. Spurred on by his friend and clinical nurse Moira Davies (Joanna Page), how far will his lies go to find happiness?

Colin (Steffan Rhodri) lives an isolated life with his crossword puzzles after his wife’s death. He thinks he’s found the one in Teresa (Lisa Palfrey), his phone pal from the Lonely Hearts column. But when she asks to meet in person, fear sets in. It’s been so long since he’s been with a woman. What if she wants to consummate their budding romance?

Peetham ‘Pete’ Shah (Phaldut Sharma) has a seemingly perfect middle-class existence. A nice job, a wonderful wife in Alys (Alexandria Riley) who has a new lust for life hosting lingerie and sex toy parties. But they’ve lost their spark. Blaming his impotency, he sees a fix-all problem in this tiny white pill (which didn't become blue until much later). Can it shrink the gulf between them?

And Eddie (Mark Lewis Jones), a bulldog of a bloke. A seemingly strong man but beneath the surface is a vulnerability. Desperate to please his wife, can this trial fix his problems?

Men Up explores the fragilities of our characters in pursuit of their ultimate reward... the return of a romantic connection in their lives. But as the drug brings the hope of a return to that once-lost intimacy, the men realise the hard work has only just begun. The trial will take them to some very unexpected places and force them to re-assess their lives.

Men Up is a funny, frank drama about masculinity, mental health, family, friendship and love.

Men Up (1x90’) is written by Matthew Barry, directed by Ashley Way (White Lines, Stella, Merlin), and produced by Karen Lewis (The Salisbury Poisonings, Years and Years, Happy Valley). The executive producers are Nicola Shindler (Nolly, It’s A Sin, Happy Valley) and Davina Earl (Safe, Come Home) for Quay Street Productions, Rachel Evans (35 Diwrnod/35 Days, How This Blind Girl…) for Boom, Matthew Barry, Russell T Davies (Nolly, It’s A Sin, Doctor Who), Rebecca Ferguson for the BBC and Nick Andrews for BBC Wales.

Men Up has received Welsh Government support via Creative Wales and is produced in association with Cineflix Rights as exclusive worldwide distribution partner. Quay Street Productions and Boom are both part of ITV Studios.

Source BBC One

September 15, 2023 3:00am ET by BBC One  


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