A triumphant adaptation of a surprisingly little-known text, the BBC's sumptuous staging of Parade's End
, the work of Ford Madox Ford, rightly earned no shortage of plaudits on its first transmission. Many of those were aimed in the direction of Sherlock
star Benedict Cumbertbatch, who takes one of the leading roles, yet this first rate Edwardian-set period drama has plenty else about it, too.
The cornerstone of the BBC adaptation of Parade's End is the script from Tom Stoppard, which refuses to yield on the issues or intelligence of the source material. Married up to superb production values and a performance to equal Cumberbatch's from Rebecca Hall, this is first rate drama, spread across five engrossing episodes.
The story itself sees Cumberbatch as the aristocrat Christopher Tietjens, married to Hall's Sylvia. Their life as they know it, already threatened by the shadow of World War I, faces further disruption when a young suffragette by the name of Adelaide arrives. From there, a perhaps inevitable love triangle develops, one that's played out tremendously well. Parade's End certainly proves to be gripping drama.
The disc release also features a welcome bonus, that takes you behind the scenes of how Parade's End was put together. That in itself proves to be an interesting story, and proves to the proverbial icing on an already exquisite cake. --Jon Foster