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Fosse/Verdon – BBC2

(Image credit: BBC/FX/Craig Blankenhorn)

The lives of dance legend Bob Fosse and his musical-theatre icon wife Gwen Verdon enter the spotlight in new BBC2 drama Fosse/Verdon

Jazz hands at the ready as the troubled relationship between Bob Fosse, who directed Sweet Charity and Cabaret, and his Broadway great wife, Gwen Verdon, is told in glossy new Fosse/Verdon on BBC2.

Starring Michelle Williams and Sam Rockwell, it spans five decades, chronicling their marriage, which was rocked by Bob’s infidelities and depression.

This week’s opening double bill begins in 1969, as Bob is offered the chance to direct Cabaret and later has an affair with a German translator on set.

There are also some thrilling re-enactments of musical show-stoppers including Mein Herr and Big Spender.

All episodes will be available as a box set on BBC iPlayer. 

‘It’s a dense, complex story,’ explains Sam, 50.

‘Someone said Bob and Gwen were almost like twins in a way.

‘They’re lovers and there’s a love story there, but they’re kind of Siamese twins, emotionally.

‘They had a thing like June Carter and Johnny Cash, and Ike and Tina Turner.

‘There’s an artistic love.

‘It’s a beautiful relationship.’

Sam Rockwell in Fosse/Verdon

Sam Rockwell as Bob Fosse directing Cabaret in BBC2’s Fosse/Verdon

The couple married in 1960 and separated in 1971 but famously never divorced, with Gwen continuing to support her estranged husband in both his life and career.

The Greatest Showman star Michelle, 38, admits it took more than just dance lessons to portray Gwen.

‘I had to start meditating,’ she explains.

‘I needed to expand my consciousness to be able to grasp her.

‘There was all kinds of stuff in terms of research and physical preparation and reading, and the watching and listening.

‘I would listen to her all the time, I would watch her all the time, she was always in my ear or in front of my eyes.

‘I wanted to be faithful to who she was and faithful to the people who knew her.’

TV Times rating: ****