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CANTERBURY TALES (article first published : 2004-11-20)

Written 600 years ago, Geoffrey Chaucerís Canterbury Tales explores the depths of the human psyche, whether that be love, sex, greed, gluttony or faith. In a 21st-century version to be screened on BBC Prime on DStv on November 22 at 21h00, however, the stories evolve with the help of talent scouts, plastic surgery and asylum seekers.

Reworked for todayís times, each story is set on the pilgrimsí route to Canterbury.

In The Millerís Tale, a smooth-talking talent scout (James Nesbitt) arrives at a karaoke pub in Kent, promising fame and fortune to the pub owner's young wife (Billie Piper).

In The Wife of Bath, 53-year-old television actress Beth (Julie Walters) falls for her handsome co-star Jerome (Paul Nicholls), 34 years her junior.

The Knightís Tale recounts how two lifelong friends, who are also prison cellmates, become bitter rivals when they both fall for the same woman. With John Simm, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Keeley Hawes.

The Sea Captainís Tale is the story of Meena, the spoilt wife of a wealthy Asian mobster (Om Puri), who owes money to her jeweller. Desperate that her husband should not know, she borrows from his nephew - in return for sexual favours.

In The Pardonerís Tale, the Rochester community has launched a search for a missing teenager. Arty, Colin & Baz, unemployed wastrels, try to cash in on the search; but their greed brings their downfall. With Jonny Lee Miller.

And finally, The Man of Lawís Tale concerns Constance, a young Nigerian refugee, and the community that has rescued her. Her faith and serenity, and her past, have a dramatic impact on everyone involved, leading to tragic events. With Andrew Lincoln and Nikki Amuka-Bird.




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