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Like a Daughter by Lucy Flannery

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BBC Radio 4, 9 August 2012
 
Lucy Flannery's drama focused on the dilemma faced by Ruth (Alison Steadman), a home help who spent a lot of time looking after Harry (Roy Hudd), an elderly curmudgeon living on his own. Life proceeds as normal, punctuated by Harry's occasional loss of temper, until Ruth discovers that he has 100K in his bank account. Inevitably Ruth wonders how it got there; but Harry refuses to tell her. Seduced by the prospect of feathering her own nest, Ruth writes a cheque out in Harry's name for 50K and transfers it into her own account. However Harry passes away unexpectedly; and Ruth is faced with the agonizing decision of whether to hang on to the money or return it, even though she believes - erroneously - that Harry has no living relatives.
 
Like a Daughter proves the truth of the adage that money can corrupt anyone. Steadman's Ruth is a good-hearted soul, spending much of her spare time looking after Harry, even though he does not appear to welcome her presence. Eventually she is arrested by the police on suspicion of having stolen Harry's fortune; as a result, she finds out that Harry does have a living relative, his great-niece Amy (Polly Frame). Amy tells Ruth that the money actually belonged to Harry's mother; she left all of it to Harry, even though Harry had a sister, and Harry had refused to share it. As a result, Harry and his sister had never spoken for thirty-five years. Like Ruth, Harry was also corrupted.
 
Eventually Ruth decides to rid herself of the money; she offers it to Amy, who refuses it; and subsequently decides to give it to charity. However fate works against her in a violent denouement.
 
Stadman gave a convincing performance in a difficult role, requiring her to communicate a variety of emotions in a short space of time.