The Unloved

The Unloved is a British television film starring Molly Windsor, Robert Carlyle, Susan Lynch and Lauren Socha. It is about an eleven-year-old girl called Lucy (played by Molly Windsor) growing up in a children's home in the UK's care system, and shown through her perspective. It is the directorial debut of Golden Globe Award-winning and two-time Academy Award-nominated actress Samantha Morton.[1] The story is semi-autobiographical,[2] Morton wrote and produced the film in collaboration with screenwriter Tony Grisoni.

The Unloved
DVD cover
Written bySamantha Morton
Tony Grisoni
Directed bySamantha Morton
StarringMolly Windsor
Susan Lynch
Robert Carlyle
Lauren Socha
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
Running time106 minutes
Budget£1.5 million
Original networkChannel 4
Original release17 May 2009

It was produced for Channel 4 and shown as part of its Britain's Forgotten Children series,[3] and was first broadcast on 17 May 2009.[4] The film drew an audience of two million viewers.[4] It had a premiere at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival and received a limited release in 2010.[5][6]



Filmed entirely on location in Morton's hometown of Nottingham, the film cost £1.5 million to make.[7] The title of the film was inspired by a newspaper article Morton had read about children in the foster care system.[8] Morton spent time in other cities such as Newcastle, Glasgow and around London although decided it was best to make a film about the world she knew and grew up in. Originally wanting to set the film in 1989, Morton later decided against it as she wanted to focus on the struggles of the present day and not want audiences to write it off as a historical piece.[9] The scene where Lucy witnesses the rape of Lauren didn't have Windsor present at the time as it was deemed inappropriate; her involvement in the scene was filmed separately and added later.[7]


The film won Robert Carlyle a Scottish BAFTA for best TV actor in November 2009.[10]

On 10 May 2010 it was announced that the film had been nominated for 'Best Single Drama'; Lauren Socha was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.[11] On 6 June 2010, The Unloved won the BAFTA for Best Single Drama.

Critical reception

The Telegraph's Michael Deacon gave the film a positive review describing it as 'Riveting' and 'Powerful from start to finish'; On the other hand, he stated the film was 'Stomach churning' and 'Hard to watch'; however to his surprise he couldn't take his eyes off the film and praised Morton on creating an 'Intense' and 'Vivid' dramatic film.

Home media

As of May 2011, the show is available on DVD from Oscilloscope.[12]


  1. Chater, David (16 May 2009). "Sunday's Top TV". Times Online. London. Retrieved 18 May 2009.
  2. "Why everyone should watch The Unloved". Times Online blogs: Alpha Mummy. 18 May 2009. Archived from the original on 22 May 2009. Retrieved 18 May 2009.
  3. "Britain's Forgotten Children". Channel 4. Retrieved 17 May 2009.
  4. Dowell, Ben (18 May 2009). "Samantha Morton directing debut The Unloved draws 2 million viewers". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 18 May 2009.
  5. Leader, Michael (22 February 2010). "The Unloved review". Den of Geek. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  6. Foote, John (18 September 2009). "TIFF: Samantha Morton Impresses With 'The Unloved'". Screen Rant. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  7. Oglethorpe, Tim (8 May 2009). "I'm making a drama out of my childhood crisis says Samantha Morton". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
  8. "Nottingham takes starring role in Sam Morton drama". This is Nottingham. 2 May 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
  9. "TV Scoop interview: Samantha Morton, The Unloved". TV Scoop. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
  10. "In the Loop scoops Scots Baftas". BBC News. 9 November 2009. Retrieved 9 November 2009.
  11. "BAFTA nominations". Archived from the original on 23 August 2010.
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