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Men Up | Preview (BBC One)

Men Up is inspired by the true story of one of the world's first medical trials for the drug that became Viagra, held in Swansea's Morriston Hospital in 1994.

The real 1994 trial not only transformed the lives of the medics and patients involved; but also changed the lives of millions worldwide. The drug quickly became one of the most controversial and profitable in history, reshaping how we talk about sexual and mental health in the process.

In this fictionalised account, Meurig (Iwan Rheon) yearns for intimacy with his wife, Ffion (Alex Roach). He loves her with all his heart but feels trapped by his inability to rekindle the spark in their marriage. He’ll do anything to reignite the flames. Anything but talk to her.

There’s Tommy (Paul Rhys), a gay man who desperately lies about his sexuality because the trial was set up for straight sex. Spurred on by his friend and clinical nurse Moira Davies (Joanna Page), how far will his lies go to find happiness?

Colin (Steffan Rhodri) lives an isolated life with his crossword puzzles after his wife’s death. He thinks he’s found the one in Teresa (Lisa Palfrey), his phone pal from the Lonely Hearts column. But when she asks to meet in person, fear sets in. It’s been so long since he’s been with a woman. What if she wants to consummate their budding romance?

Peetham ‘Pete’ Shah (Phaldut Sharma) has a seemingly perfect middle-class existence. A nice job, a wonderful wife in Alys (Alexandria Riley) who has a new lust for life hosting lingerie and sex toy parties. But they’ve lost their spark. Blaming his impotency, he sees a fix-all problem in this tiny white pill (which didn't become blue until much later). Can it shrink the gulf between them?

And Eddie (Mark Lewis Jones), a bulldog of a bloke. A seemingly strong man but beneath the surface is a vulnerability. Desperate to please his wife, can this trial fix his problems?

Men Up explores the fragilities of our characters in pursuit of their ultimate reward... the return of a romantic connection in their lives. But as the drug brings the hope of a return to that once-lost intimacy, the men realise the hard work has only just begun. The trial will take them to some very unexpected places and force them to re-assess their lives.

Men Up is a funny, frank drama about masculinity, mental health, family, friendship and love. Airs Friday 29th December on BBC One.


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