mon 28/09/2020

costume drama

Anonymous

Everyone is working against type, or so it would seem, in Roland Emmerich's deeply bizarre Anonymous, which asks us to accept a celluloid slob (Rhys Ifans) as an aristocrat, a vaunted republican (Vanessa Redgrave) as Elizabeth I and a highly...

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Downton Abbey, Series 2, ITV1

And now for that difficult second album. Downton Abbey’s stately progress last autumn revived in television audiences a taste thought long dead: for populist drama offering a sepia-tinted vision of the English class system in which the well-to-do...

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Jane Eyre

As fresh and enchanting as the first flushes of spring, Cary Joji Fukunaga’s imaginative retelling of Charlotte Brontë’s 19th-century proto-feminist novel captures the thrill of attraction with rare perception, sweep and tenderness. It foregrounds...

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The Night Watch, BBC Two

Sarah Waters’s highly praised novels have marched from the page to the screen with regimental regularity and no apparent sacrifice in quality. Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith, with their big Victorian brushstrokes, were built for television no...

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The School for Scandal, Barbican Theatre

Social graces: Alan Howard delights as the elderly cynic Sir Peter Teazle

"There’s no possibility of being witty without a little ill-nature,” preaches the Gospel according to Richard Brinsley Sheridan. What the playwright omits to mention, however, is that it is possible to be ill-natured without in fact being terribly...

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The Crimson Petal and the White, BBC Two

Playing a prostitute on film has been big career business for some very famous actresses, not least Jane Fonda, Elizabeth Taylor and Julia Roberts, but it hasn't worked quite the same way on TV. Unless you count Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Or Moll...

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DVD: Upstairs Downstairs

When it was broadcast over Christmas the jury was split on Upstairs Downstairs. Some were spitting with rage at the temerity inherent in the idea of revisiting 165 Eaton Place (though the street exteriors, it's revealed on the DVD documentary, were...

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Lark Rise to Candleford, BBC One

Victorian corsetry at its finest: Julia Sawalha and Olivia Hallinan at the hub of Candleford life

Few would dispute the supremacy of Cranford and Lark Rise to Candleford among the BBC’s current fleet of costume dramas. Measured, domestic and infinitely gentle, there are no Machiavellian footmen or illicit trysts here, just wholesome country...

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Agatha Christie's Marple: The Secret of Chimneys, ITV1

If there’s one thing the British love on television at Christmas time, it’s a period drama, and even better, a period mystery. So what joy when there’s a bit of sleuthing by Agatha Christie's yin to Hercule Poirot’s yang, the eagle-eyed wise old...

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Upstairs Downstairs, BBC One

Thirty-five years after Rose Buck took what she thought was her final nostalgic stroll through the empty rooms of 165 Eaton Place in Belgravia, where she had served the Bellamy family for four decades, Jean Marsh has brought Rose back home in the...

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When We Are Married, Garrick Theatre

He Leica the liquor: Roy Hudd plays a bibulous photographer in J B Priestley revival

Those who want a taste of the way the West End used to be - that's to say, bustling star vehicles where the furniture isn't the only amply upholstered aspect of the evening - will relish When We Are Married, the 1938 J B Priestley comedy that tends...

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Downton Abbey, ITV1

With the BBC still in the middle of shooting their revival of Upstairs, Downstairs, ITV1 have nipped in ahead of them with Julian Fellowes's spiffing new sundown-on-the-aristocracy drama. In a battle of the stage dames, the Beeb has bagged Eileen...

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