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delightful dramatisation of a wonderful book
on 2 December 2007
I have watched this so many times that my original VHS-format is falling to pieces! One of Hardy's most accessible novels, this story quite daringly (for its time) deals with such issues as love, patience and the -- often devastating -- effects of human sexuality. It is all done, though, with great humanity and even the villain has some redeeming features. There's little black-and-white in Hardy's portraits of the three men all humming around Bathsheba like bees. Nor is she herself a simplistic character.
As with the best of British television costume dramas, this 1998 version features some very well-known and -loved actors, although I believe that Paloma Baeza may not have been so well-known when she was cast as the female lead. Nathaniel Parker is simply stunning -- and irresistible -- as the superb Gabriel Oak (a more appropriate name for his character could not have been devised), and Jonathan Firth is very fine indeed as Sergeant Troy -- this may be his best role yet on the small screen.
The music is charming; the settings and costumes are perfect... Sit back for a few hours, and simply bask in the the warmth of this production. I can't recommend it highly enough.