Bye-bye bonnets

Jan 15, 2009 by

Speaking as someone who once got banned from the BBC History forum (how is it my fault if everyone wants to flame each other over Regency House Party??) – I’m glad the BBC is dropping Regency costume drama. I love Jane Austen’s works, but some of these latest dramas have become a grotesque breeches’n’bonnets parody which, despite my enthusiasm for literature, I can hardly be bothered to watch these days. Whatever happened to Austen’s gloriously catty voice? Her unsentimental opinions?

I’m also pretty fed up of Andrew Davies’ reputation for raunchiness – something that he himself seemed fed up with at least eight years ago when I saw him address the University of Warwick writing group; he complained about ‘that picture of Colin Firth in a wet shirt’ and seeing it pinned to the kitchen cupboards of ‘women of a certain age’. Amazing that, in his BBC adaptation of John Cleland’s Fanny Hill, he actually went the other way and turned a work of eroticism into cosy teatime drama!

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  1. Elizabeth Kerri Mahon

    I’m just glad that they are going to stop remaking the same five novels over and over again. How many versions of Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre do we need? I’d like to see them explore more works of the 19th century, maybe even some Henry James.

  2. Mrs Woffington

    Hi Elizabeth, yes I agree entirely. I loved Davies' adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, but I think the whole genre needs a shake-up now and a new approach. Something a bit darker like Wilkie Collins would be great to see too.

  3. MV Overchurch

    They should do The Prisoner of Zenda! That’d be a lark. Or Halldor Laxness’ “Iceland’s Bell”. An epic costume drama of love, war and manuscript-collecting set in 1720s Iceland! All the decolletage and breeches – plus geysers and glaciers! Now THAT’d make a change from Austen!

  4. Mrs Woffington

    People who had money in Icesave may be deterred from watching, however.

  5. Laura

    I agree. I found the BBC's last version of Sense & Sensibility dull, dull, dull. Apart from David Morrissey 🙂 Likewise ITV's adaptation of Mansfield Park. Don't get me started on Billie Piper's brassy hair and black eyebrows…and yes, some Wilkie Collins would be great

  6. Mrs Woffington

    You rarely see such blatant miscasting as Billie Piper in a demure Empire-line frock.

  7. Laura

    Yes, I kept expecting David Tennant and the Tardis to appear at any moment, and for her to start shouting “You’re ‘avin a laaarf, aint ‘cha Edmund?”

    Mansfield Park vs The Daleks. I would pay to watch that…