Francesca Joseph (TomorrowLa Scala) has been confirmed as director of Mrs Ratcliffe's Revolution,the latest feature from East Is East producer Leslee Udwin.

Scripted by Peter Straughan and Bridget O'Connor, the film is a bittersweetcomedy based on the true story of an ardent Marxist from the north of Englandwho takes his family to live in East Berlin in the mid-1960s.

Frank Ratcliffesoon discovers that life in the communist bloc is not the idyll he hadimagined. His wife of 17 years, Dorothy Ratcliffe, is even more bewildered byher new existence behind the Iron Curtain, but battles to keep the familytogether.

"She leaves the world of Marks & Spencer and goes to theworld of Marx and Lenin," is how Udwin characterises her journey east.

Emma Thompson is a champion of the screenplay and is in the frame to play MrsRatcliffe, other commitments permitting.

Mrs Ratcliffe's Revolution has received development funding from the UKFilm Council (£90,240) and from the Media Programme. It is being made Udwin'sAssassin Films. Shooting is likely to begin early next year.

The project was brought toUdwin by Maggie Norris, on whose family the story is based. Norris will act asconsultant. Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Millions), another champion ofthe screenplay, has offered to executive produce.