Sometimes, when a book makes the journey to the silver screen, it isn’t always the easiest of transitions. Subtleties can get lost, characters can go AWOL, and sometimes even major plotlines can simply disappear into thin air. And that’s before you even get to casting – we all know what certain characters look like, not just from the writer’s words but from our own imaginations.
I’m sure that one of the reasons that the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in 1995 was the casting – Colin Firth was the perfect Mr Darcy, Jennifer Ehle was just as I imagined Elizabeth Bennet and even Mr Bingley, played by the delightfully caddish-looking Crispin Bonham Carter, was spot-on. And that’s before adding to the mix the excellent script by Andrew Davies and the gorgeous settings and costumes.
The whole thing looked perfect, sounded perfect and because it was a six-part (six hour) series, there was space and time for the story to breathe. There wasn’t the need to rush to a climax before the next ad-break, nor to spend a couple of minutes after each ad-break reminding people what they’d just seen, as though their ability to retain information was somehow compromised.
I have it stored on our Tivo box and I’ll probably have a Christmas binge on it at some point because I think it might be the perfect light but clever antidote to too much cheese and wine and too much forced bonhomie.