Top positive review
97 people found this helpful
The Perfect Lord Peter
on 25 June 2002
I was a student at Oxford University when this series, which converted me into an avid admirer of Miss Sayers, was first shown in 1987 and have been waiting 15 long years for its release on video. It has been well worth the wait. All three stories are excellent and it is a shame that the BBC were, I believe, unable to obtain the rights to Busman's Honeymoon, which would have adapted to the medium of television even better than the other three.
Edward Petherbridge IS Lord Peter Wimsey, much more so than Ian Carmichael who starred in the earlier series. The character portrayed by Carmichael was attractive and charming - perhaps more "tv-friendly" but he wasn't Sayer's Wimsey. Petherbridge, aa well as having a quite uncanny resemblance to LPW as described in the books, conveys the introspective, somewhat insecure and neurotic person (who is after all a shell-shocked World War One veteran) which is lying just below the surface of a carefully constructed shield of "piffle".
Gaudy Night is less faithful to the original books than the other two in the series but that is perhaps inevitable. Gaudy Night is a complex novel with the "mystery" serving only as a background to an exposition of Sayer's views on feminism and intellectual integrity, and has dated remarkably little with the passage of almost 70 years. Despite the omission of several elements present in the novel, such as St. George, the chess set and the dog collar, the atmosphere of an Oxford Women's College in the 1930's is well evoked with excellent attention to period detail. There is real chemistry between Harriet and Peter as the story comes to its satisfactory close, although it is a shame that the script writers couldn't have remained a little more faithful to the original, which is beautiful piece of prose.
I strongly recommend all three videos (Strong Poison, Have His Carcase and Gaudy Night) to any fan of Dorothy L. Sayers or as an introduction to those who do not yet know her, which is what the original series did for me - to my eternal gratitude.