Adaptations – Jamaica Inn

When I heard that the BBC were adapting my favourite Daphne du Maurier book, my first instinct was to be horrified. I felt sure that they would ruin it – there’s so much that could go wrong! After watching the trailer and reading all of the tweets, curiosity overcame me and I sought out Jamaica Inn on the iPlayer.

** WARNING: This post contains spoilers! **

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Adaptations – Birdsong

I had mixed feelings about Birdsong when I first read it last year. I have always enjoyed reading Sebastian Faulks but I often find his melodramatic storylines put me off. So when I heard that there was a new two part drama out on the BBC, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I found the love affair between Stephen Wraysford and Isabelle Azaire to be over the top and unrealistic in the book, but maybe this storyline would be interpreted better as a filmed drama? And could the BBC pull off the horrors of the First World War scenes in the same harrowing and detailed way that Faulks did? I was eager to find out.

In the end, it took me a few days to finally settle down to watch Birdsong, mostly because I wanted to be in the right frame of mind to sit through an hour or two of depressing war scenes. It wasn’t actually the war scenes that I should have worried about – it was everything else. I was pre-warned that there was a lot of ‘staring into space’, but this did not fully prepare me for the huge amount of blank faces… sorry, I mean ‘meaningful looks’. I also wasn’t prepared for the loud and dramatic music that was constantly building up and up and up to… another scene of the two lovers staring into each other’s eyes. Continue reading

Adaptations – Pride and Prejudice 1995 vs 2005

One thing about Advent with Austen that I was really looking forward to was watching the 1995 Pride and Prejudice TV series. I had never seen it and had heard some marvellous things… especially about Colin Firth as a certain Mr. Darcy. I also decided to re-watch the 2005 film with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen.

Within five minutes, I knew that I was going to love the 1995 version of this much loved book. It is immediately clear that the casting for the Bennet family was chosen brilliantly.  It is almost unbearable to watch the high-pitched, shrieking Alison Steadman, who plays the annoying Mrs. Bennet superbly. Benjamin Whitrow is also fantastic as her quiet and sarcastic husband, forever teasing and making fun of her. The irritating daughter, Lydia is played by Julia Sawalha who is excellent and almost, but not quite as irritating as her mother. Continue reading

Adaptations – Sense and Sensibility 2008 vs 1995

For Advent with Austen, I decided upon two versions of Sense and Sensibility to watch; the much loved 1995 adaptation with some very talented actors, and the more recent 2008 BBC TV serial. Having heard good things about the 2008 adaptation, I decided to start with that one. The episodes were also a perfect length to look forward to after work for a few nights.

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