Maybe it's appropriate that the biopic of Diana Dors' life should turn out to be a load of rubbish. After all, she did appear in some truly awful films. But, whatever else she was, she was never dull; and this four-hour plod through the decades was exceedingly dull.
The production was saddled with a useless script that did little more than move between one event and another with no overall point of view. Some of the dialogue was just dreadful. One scene sticks in the memory as an example of what not to do. It was set at the premiere of Yield to the Night and while she's walking down a long flight of stairs to the acclaim of world she tells her husband (and I paraphrase) "Fancy little old me from Swindon doing a great film like that. I really only did it to please my dead mother and from now on I'm going to make great films. I'm not going to be the blonde bombshell any more. I'm going to take charge of my career and no one is going to tell me what to do, and that includes you". Now, if I'd known I was going to be given that sort of précis, I needn't have sat through the first hour and a half.
The production made the sensible decision to have two actresses play the adult Dors: Keeley Hawes as the younger version and Amanda Redman as the older. Hawes was totally inadequate, both as a look-alike and as a performer. She doesn't have the brassy charm that Dors had and doesn't have the authority to carry the dramatic moments. Redman came close on occasion to Dors but never really got the lust for life that Dors always displayed.
Of the other actors, only Barnaby Kay as third husband Alan Lake made any impression. He was sexy when needed, vulnerable, aggressive and actually looked like Lake. He also aged well. Contrast that with Larry Lamb's portrayal of Dors' agent: 35 years and the only change he made was growing sideburns in the seventies!
The budget was too low to cover the period properly. Most of it was spent on Dors' wigs and dresses. Maybe if they'd spent more on the script it would have been better. But even a good script would have had to compete against Robert Bierman's soporific direction. If you're going to make a melodrama - and Dors' life was pure melodrama - then you need to put as much energy as possible into the direction. It got next to none.
The verdict: a sad waste of time. They spent a lot of time telling us, and her, how much she was loved but not once did they show us why she was loved. If you want to know why, check out any of her films.