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The Doll Factory on Paramount Plus is adapted from the novel by Elizabeth Macneal, which is a dark tale of aspiration, obsession and misogyny. Set in 1850 London, it stars Hanna actress Esmé Creed-Miles as Iris, a young woman who dreams of being an artist. It also stars Mirren Mack (Sex Education) as her sister Rose and George Webster (Wedding Season) as an aspiring painter, while Éanna Hardwicke plays Silas, a strange taxidermist who becomes dangerously obsessed with Iris.
Here’s everything you need to know about Paramount Plus period drama The Doll Factory…
The Doll Factory release date
The Doll Factory is a six-part series that will premiere on Paramount Plus in the UK with two episodes on Monday November 27 2023 then playing out daily on subsequent days so the full box set will become available from Friday December 1 2023. Keep checking this page and we’ll update you as soon as any information is released on The Doll Factory's US release date and channel.
Is there a trailer for The Doll Factory?
Yes a trailer for The Doll Factory has now been released which starts with the words: 'I saw a red head today'. Do take a look below...
The Doll Factory plot
The Doll Factory follows Iris, a Victorian woman who alongside her twin sister Rose (played by Mirren Mack) painting dolls’ faces for a living in a shop owned by the stern Mrs Salter (Pippa Haywood) in a factory. She yearns to be an artist and at night secretly paints on canvas. Then Iris meets pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost (George Webster), and when he asks her to model for him, she agrees on the condition that he teaches her to paint professionally. Suddenly Iris has an opportunity to escape and start a new life but to achieve her dream she must abandon her sister, sacrifice her reputation and take a jump into the unknown. Iris also has a fleeting meeting with Silas (Éanna Hardwicke) a taxidermist, but while she soon forgets him, he becomes increasingly obsessed with her.
The Doll Factory cast — Esmé Creed-Miles on playing Iris
Esmé Creed-Miles plays aspiring artist Iris. "In the past, Iris was not the centre of attention and Rose was more the outgoing, beautiful twin,’ says Hannah star Esmé. ‘The scarring has changed that, so there’s jealousy and competition between them. Iris feels restrained working in the shop - she’s craving a creative and physical liberation from her surroundings."
Many of the dolls Iris and Rose make are ‘mourning dolls’, bought by bereaved parents in memory of their dead children, which gives the emporium a slightly sinister feel - but Esmé took that in her stride… "I’m sort of used to the macabre in my life, so it wasn’t too weird for me!’" she smiles. "I went to art school, so painting the dolls wasn’t that tricky. More often than not I had fun drawing inappropriate things on their faces and handing them out to people!
"I went to art school and I studied painting for quite some time, so all that wasn’t too tricky for me to film. It was fun!"
* Esmé Creed-Miles previously starred in the series Hanna, playing the title role, but has also had roles in The Legend of Vox Machina, Pond Life, Wasteland, Dark River and Mister Lonely.
Éanna Hardwicke on playing Silas
Éanna Hardwicke, who plays Silas, says "‘Silas would like to be in the same kind of circles as Louis, but he isn’t, so there’s a bit of jealousy and resentment there. Silas and Iris’s meeting feels very fated to him - he sees Iris as more than a friend or a companion, and his feelings for her become obsessive."
* Éanna Hardwicke has appeared in Normal People, The Sixth Commandment and Fate: The Winx Saga as well as The Sparrow, Vivarium and Lakelands. He was also in the series Smother.
Mirren Mack on playing Rose
Mirren Mack, who plays Iris' twin Rose, says: "The likeness between the characters, and the likeness between us, is quite special. We’ve really made a sisterly bond. Rose was always told she was beautiful, she would marry well and have a lovely life. Then, at 16, she contracted smallpox and the thing she was prized for slipped away. Her scarring is so much worse on the inside than on the outside. Rose depends on her sister, but she resents having to look at someone who has become so beautiful.
"I’m not a skilled artist, sadly, but I enjoyed painting in this. I gave one doll a full fringe and freckles, and I gave another smallpox to match Rose! There’s been a lot of stitching, because Rose is more a seamstress than an artist. I’ve been really getting into that and I very cheaply made bits and bobs for many people’s Christmas presents!"
George Webster as Louis
George Webster plays Louis, a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He's a painter is on the verge of hitting the big time in the art world and desperately wants Iris to be his next muse.
* George Webster stars as as Hugo Delaney in the series Wedding Season and has also starred in Finding Alice, Us, Industry, Versailles and Wars.
Who else is starring in The Doll Factory?
The Doll Factory also stars Pippa Haywood (Bodyguard) as factory boss Mrs Salter and newcomer Reece Kenwyne-Mpudzi plays Albiie, who runs errands for cash — this enterprising orphan wants to have enough money to get his older sister (Stephen star Sharlene Whyte) to safety. Nell Hudson plays Louis sister' Clarissa who is his secret-keeper and is very involved in his work, helping to care for his muses. Saorsie Monic-Jackson plays Bluebell, a barmaid with a reputation that precedes her, and an as-yet-unfulfilled dream of being an artist’s muse.
Freddy Carter (Wonder Woman), Saoirse Monica Jackson (Derry Girls), Laurie Kynaston (The Sandman), Jim Caesar (The Witcher), Akshay Khanna (Chloe), Aysha Kala (The Undeclared War), Nell Hudson (Outlander) also star
Behind the scenes, locations and more on The Doll Factory
Filming of The Doll Factory took place in and around Dublin in Ireland in 2023.
Tony Wood, Anna Burns and Richard Tulk-Hart are Executive Producers for Buccaneer. Charley Miles is the series screenwriter and is also Executive Producer. Sacha Polak (Hanna, Dirty God) is Director, Cathy Brady (Wildfire, Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope) is the second Director, whilst Suzanne McAuley (Magpie Murders, Maigret) is Series Producer and Julie Harkin (I May Destroy You, Becoming Elizabeth) is Casting Director. Cineflix Rights will be distributing the series internationally and public broadcasters SBS in Australia, and New Zealand’s TVNZ have also boarded the historic thriller.
The Doll Factory's author Elizabeth Macneal commented: “It might sound like a cliché, but to have my novel turned into a TV series is a dream come true. It has been an extraordinary process to see ideas that once existed only in my head, coming to life on set and now on screen. Each scene has been perfectly rendered - from the artist Louis Frost’s lavish painting studio, to the doll shop where twins Iris and Rose paint the faces of china dolls. Buccaneer has been a joy to work with, and Charley Miles’s script excited me from the very first page. I can’t wait to share this story with viewers!”
Buccaneer Executive Producer Anna Burns, adds: "We are so excited for viewers to enter the world of The Doll Factory. We couldn’t be more proud of what our incredible creative team – led by Charley Miles, Sacha Polak & Cathy Brady – have created, and of our phenomenally talented cast. Thank you, once more, to Elizabeth Macneal for giving us the gift of her debut novel, to Paramount+ for being such supportive collaborators throughout, and finally to our partners at Cineflix, SBS and TVNZ for recognising the potential of the show so early on.”
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