Why The Red Tent Is A Unique Must-See

The Red Tent is no ordinary historical drama – it’s a sumptuous epic which will make you think of the past in a new way. Here’s why…

Rebecca Ferguson as Dinah


The Red Tent is the story of Dinah, a beautiful young woman whose story will be a mystery to most of us, despite featuring in one of the founding texts of modern civilisation: the Bible. She is the daughter of Jacob, a great patriarch of old, and she is mentioned only fleetingly in the Old Testament. The Red Tent takes this snippet and expands it into a saga of love, vengeance, greed and intense family in-fighting. It follows Dinah's coming of age as the headstrong daughter of a great man, the tragic story of her first love, the blood-soaked fallout consequences of her passions, and her refusal to be sidelined by the powerful forces around her


Most Biblical epics are about big, burly men slaying each other with swords, preaching from hillsides and passing on strict patriarchal laws. The Red Tent tells the other side of the story: the women's side of the story. It gives a voice to the marginalized, ignored and silenced women of the Biblical era, whose stories have always been completely overshadowed by the likes of Abraham, Jacob and Joseph. As Dinah herself says, "my name means nothing to you, my memory is dust". More than that, The Red Tent is a poignant hymn to motherhood and sisterhood, and the passing down of stories from woman to woman over the ages. It's unlike any drama of its type we've ever seen.


The Red Tent is a big-budget, star-studded adaptation of a novel that's made a huge difference to women's lives around the world. Written by Anita Diamant, the original novel of The Red Tent was published to little attention, but slowly, over time, its emphasis on the secret history of womanhood made it a word-of-mouth bestseller. Millions of copies were sold, it inspired fierce devotion in countless book groups, and even became a must-read among celebs, with Julia Roberts calling it a book that changed her life. At the same time, some devout Christians lambasted Anita Diamant for daring to explore the Biblical story of Dinah from such a bold perspective.


Don't go thinking The Red Tent is some dull, worthy, prestige production, the TV equivalent of eating kale. It's very much the opposite, featuring swoon-worthy love scenes, full-blooded depictions of angry carnage, and heated confrontations between rival family members which would give any contemporary drama a run for its money. In fact, one of the most surprising things about The Red Tent is how relevant it feels to our 21st Century views of men, women and gender dynamics. Not to mention the most timeless concern of all: finding love against the odds.


Filmed against the sprawling, craggy, dramatic backdrop of Morocco, The Red Tent has the feel of a Hollywood blockbuster, and the stars to match. In the role of Dinah is rising star Rebecca Ferguson, whom seasoned lovers of period dramas may recognise from the BBC adaptation of The White Queen, as well as movies like The Girl on The Train and Life. Her mum, meanwhile, is played by veteran star Minnie Driver, who actually tones down her natural charisma and flamboyance for her role here. Scottish star Iain Glen, of Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones fame, is Jacob, while lovers of all things 80s will be surprised to see Debra Winger. Never mind her persona in films like An Officer and a Gentleman, and Terms of Endearment - the Debra Winger you'll see here is altogether more frightening and formidable...