On one level, the BBC's 1981 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility is a classic example of old-fashioned Sunday teatime drama. In Elinor Dashwood, thanks to Irene Richard's subtle performance, it has one of Jane Austen's most appealing heroines: a troubled young woman who outwardly "manages" her thoughts but must come to terms with a world that is not as black and white as she would have it. There are fine costumes, plenty of romance and some splendid locations. This Sense and Sensibility does have heaving bosoms and manly breeches, (on a modest level), but it was made before Hollywood discovered Jane Austen and turned her novel of manners into a multi-Oscar winning film, and long before the BBC's watershed 1995 production of Pride and Prejudice unleashed a new, sexed-up interpretation of Austen's work on a hungry audience. Its real charm lies in the dialogue, and the delicacy of the understated performances that suggest real turmoil beneath the surface of gentility. The exchanges are witty and sharp. The reciprocal misery of the Dashwood sisters as their romantic aspirations appear to crumble is touching and credible. And there is, of course, a happy ending. Vintage stuff. --Piers Ford
A BBC adaptation of Jane Austen's famous novel. Sisters Elinor (Irene Richard) and Marianne (Tracey Childs) Dashwood lose their family fortune to spiteful relatives, and are forced to seek out suitable husbands in order to survive. While Marianne falls for the heartless John Willoughby (Peter Woodward), Elinor finds herself attracted to Edward Ferrars (Bosco Hogan), who is himself betrothed to Lucy Steele (Julia Chambers). Will the sisters find the romance they are hoping for?
Jane Austen's tale of two devoted sisters with totally differing attitudes to life and love. Filmed on location in the stately homes of picturesque Dorset and Somerset.