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Still charming after all these years
on 14 March 2004
How wonderful to watch again this classic ITV serial from the late 1980s. And how well it has stood the test of time.
Memory sometimes plays tricks with TV programmes – we become a little starry-eyed about them, and when we get the chance to see them once more, we can be quite disappointed.
But not this time. The Charmer, for want of a better phrase, certainly retains its charm. And let's not forget – it was also quite brutal, with Nigel Havers playing that nasty but suave character, Ralph Gorse.
Wonderful performances, also, from Rosemary Leach and Fiona Fullerton, who are both captivated by the smooth-talking conman, and from Bernard Hepton, who soon sees through the deceit.
The series also delightfully and convincingly recreates the era in which it is set.
A shame, though, that the DVD release contains no extras – an interview with the leading actors recalling their involvement with the six-part series would have added a nice touch.
The Charmer is based on the book Mr Stimpson and Mr Gorse by Patrick Hamilton, whose work also includes the stage play Rope which Alfred Hitchcock was to later make into a film.
Hamilton was born in March 1904, and it's sad that in this, the centenary year of his birth, the DVD fails to contain a profile or tribute to this largely forgotten, and certainly under-rated, author.