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on 31 December 2013
Please ignore those who have compared it to the brilliant Pride and Prejudice adaptation by the BBC. It is a totally different creature, but the novel it is based on and this adaptation , are utterly superb. Reviews are people's opinions and are to be used as guidelines, I'm so glad I had ignored the scathing reviews for P.D James's novel and read , and found it excellent. If you choose to indulge, in the novel or this adaptation, you will find both, very worthwhile. Enjoy.
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on 3 January 2014
A decided improvement on the P.D. James novel, which, I felt, was slightly hamstrung by its consciously being a grateful follower-on to a brilliant original. I didn't find in the book the spark and intensity that, mercifully, the scriptwriter found for this TV recreation. Perhaps this was because the TV show benefitted from a visual grammar well known to its audience, and therefore easier for the scriptwriter to latch onto than it was for James to channel Austen's unique writing style.

I thought the casting and acting were all terrific: I'd enjoyed Matthew Goode in "Leap Year", and his Wickham was the man I'd always wanted to see in previous Pride & Prejudice adaptations, but never did: a truly handsome, likeable rascal. (Otherwise, how could the sensible, lively Lizzie have possibly been so blinded by him?) Nicely done. Matthew Rhys makes a really effective Darcy in a very short space of time, despite his character in the P.D. James book seeming to me really quite shadowy. They seem to have beefed up his speaking part for the TV show and brought him into closer perspective, the scriptwriter correctly spotting the opportunity to show Darcy not as Wickham's mortal enemy, but what in fact he was and had ever been - his reluctant friend. I believed in him utterly as the breathing lord and master of a vast estate and tremendous responsibilities, traces of the old awful, implacable self there, but kinder, with Lizzie there to tie him to his humanity - very impressive.

Trevor Eve almost stole the show as Sir Selwyn Hardcastle - he brought the man to life wonderfully from what, again, had seemed in the book very thin material. Likewise Eleanor Tomlinson and Jenna Coleman, who both created likeable and believable characters as Georgiana Darcy and Lydia Wickham respectively. But my best praise goes to Anna Maxwell Martin for her mature, calm, thoughtful Lizzie Darcy, perhaps no longer striding across fields and delighting us with her liveliness, but certainly bringing her own thoughts, and her own principles, to her new, grander life, in a way I hope Austen wouldn't have been ashamed of. Her Lizzie may not sound as though she was cut from the same glass as the really posh, but she exudes her own authority.

The production values were excellent, although I still don't quite "buy" the use of Chatsworth as Pemberley. This house seems to me slightly too showy for the part of the home of a gentleman, albeit a grand one, who is not after all a peer. But still they made exquisite use of its beautiful summer woodlands and gardens to create a sense of place, and of unease and anticipation. I thoroughly enjoyed this series...now I wonder if someone can be persuaded to cast this excellent incarnation of the Pemberley family in another spinoff drama...? The audience is out there, ready and waiting.
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on 15 October 2014
I've been waiting for years for some sort of sequel to the classic Pride and Prejudice - even going as far as to put together a what happened next to all the characters in my head. So l was really looking forward to this adaptation and l wasn't disappointed.

The characters are well cast, my favourites being Lizzie, Darcy and Lydia. Not sure l totally agree with the direction of the story particularly Wickham and Colonel Fitzwilliam as Wickham seems more a nasty piece of work than a chancer and opportunist. Whilst the Colonel had become so arrogant and abrasive, totally losing his happy jovial nature that there were times l just wanted to kick him!

I did however like the fact that the actor who played the Colonel was also in the BBC classic having played one of the officers - this gave it a sense of symmetry somehow.

I also liked the fact that Lizzie had lost none of her feisty tenacity or provocative sense of humour. Whilst Colin Firth will always be my favourite Darcy, Matthew Rhys did a good job particularly when he dealt with the Colonel. My only issue would be that there were times when Darcy appeared a little lacking in conviction particularly when dealing with Wickham. I would question whether Darcy with all his wealth and privilege would have behaved quite that way.

One final mention has to go to the costumes which felt just right however, contrary to some who have commented Lizzie is not wearing the same dress throughout but rather a series of dresses in the same colour! I would have liked a little more variety with her wardrobe but you can't have everything. Lydia wardrobe was gorgeous.

Anyway l have waffled on for long enough -suffice to say l enjoyed this dvd very much, so much so that l probably watch it at least once a week! Those who loved the BBC classic and don't mind a little bit of 'what if' should love this adaptation - those who believe the story ended with Jane Austen should avoid this drama like the plague !
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Out of all the Jane Austen fanfictions, P.D. James' "Death Comes to Pemberley" is probably the most successful.

So it's not that surprising that the BBC decided to turn this murder-mystery sequel to "Pride and Prejudice" into a miniseries. And it's a fairly decent little whodunnit, with beautiful visuals, a socially awkward love triangle and a lot of familiar faces... and the major downside is some less-than-ideal casting for the main characters, Lizzie and Darcy.

On the eve of a ball, Pemberley is thrown into an uproar when a hysterical Lydia (Jenna Coleman) comes charging in -- and Wickham (Matthew Goode) is found with the corpse of his old friend, Captain Denny. Someone whacked Denny on the head, and Wickham is sobbing that he killed him.

Darcy (Matthew Rhys) is reluctant to believe that Wickham could have committed the murder, especially since it would bring a wave of scandal to Pemberley. But the magistrate Hardcastle (Trevor Eve) has no other suspects, and between Wickham's hysterical confession and being alone in the woods with Denny, he's sort of the perfect culprit.

Meanwhile, Lizzie (Anna Maxwell Martin) is perplexed by a series of odd occurrences -- a mysterious woman in the woods near Pemberley, a baby with an unknown father, and a love triangle between Georgiana Darcy (Eleanor Tomlinson) and two suitors. As she struggles to deal with the scandal's effects on her marriage, she begins to realize that there's a connection between these three problems, which may be the key to solving the murder.

"Death Comes to Pemberley" is pretty lightweight as a murder mystery -- I figured out the murderer's identity before the murder even took place. Furthermore, not a lot of actual detective work takes place. Darcy deals with the comedic court goings-on (most of the audience seems there for the LOLs) while Lizzie collects random clues that eventually gel together.

It's more enjoyable as a Regency drama, and as one of the few competent sequels to "Pride and Prejudice" -- it's told with respect to the original story, and fleshes out some of the storylines (Mrs. Younge, Wickham's ongoing caddishness) from that novel. It's also beautifully filmed, set in an exquisite mansion, sprawling manicured grounds and some truly lovely forests -- it's almost a shame when the attention is drawn to nearby towns.

Unfortunately, the main characters aren't well-cast. Rhys seems stiff and stodgy as Darcy, rather than the passionate, sometimes grim figure he should be. And Martin... well, she seems a bit too old and plain for the role of Lizzie, and she doesn't really have the witty charisma that you would expect. In fact, Lizzie spends most of her time just floating around Pemberley and arguing with people.

It's a shame, because most of the casting is spot-on -- the Bennetts, Coleman as the pert and shallow Lydia, Tomlinson as a dewy-eyed Georgiana, Mariah Gale as Mrs. Younge, and so on. Gale gives a particularly good performance as the perennial wastrel Wickham, who has caused yet another scandal; however, we do see Wickham scared and desperate. Tom Ward does a pretty passable job as Colonel Fitzwilliam, but it's never made clear when or why he became an untrustworthy, manipulative jerk.

"Death Comes to Pemberley" is fairly flat as a mystery and has some lackluster lead actors, but it's an acceptable sequel to the immortal Austen novel. And if nothing else, enjoy the superb supporting cast.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 March 2015
A beaautifully produced and researched sequel to 'Pride and Prejudice' based on the book by PD James which was nominated for an award for best make up and hair design. On this level, it works beautifully. The costumes are wonderful and the setting at Chatsworth is just gorgeous. It is certainly intriguing to be given a glimpse of what might have happened after Elizabeth and Darcy married. PD James picked up and developed a number of threads from the Jane Austen novel, showing sensitivity and detailed knowledge.
My problem lay in the casting of Anna Maxwell Martin as Elizabeth. Though a superb actress, she is a little old (36, I think, at the time of filming} and a little thin to convince as the woman who entranced Darcy. Matthew Rhys as Darcy is not always given the opportunity to portray the dominant and aristocratic Darcy as he appeared in the Austen novel; at times, it appears that he has become a house-husband. With these two characters and the sexual tension between them weakened, the story lost some of its power. Nevertheless, there is much to intrigue and entertain, particularly the complex relationship between Darcy and Wickham. The latter becomes a much more real and complex figure in this story. Rebecca Front and James Fleet excel as Mr and Mrs Bennet and there are numerous other excellent performances, particularly from Trevor Eve. The story is as interesting and ingenious as a whodunnit by PD James is bound to be. So, despite a few reservations - five stars.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 29 December 2013
When I saw that P D James had written a sequel to "Pride and Prejudice", I must admit, I was sceptical. Perhaps it is a brave author who decides to take on such a classic and make it into something of their own. Brave, or reckless perhaps. Although I have not read the book, I have to admit that if the dramatization is anything to go on, James has done a fantastic job. She has managed to keep the important elements of Austen's classic - the characters have the same traits which Austen gave to them - yet she has also managed to put her own stamp on Elizabeth and Darcy's relationship. What James has managed to create is a period whodunit which is intelligently thought out and put together.
This was definitely one of the highlights this Christmas. I would certainly recommend it. It only makes me wish that I had read the book first.
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on 3 March 2014
Anne maxwell Martin is dreadful casting for Lizzie. A capable actress perhaps but I simply cannot see Darcy falling for a women with an attractiveness factor of 2 out of 10.
Ms Martin is completely miscast as the supposedly lovely Elizabeth, she actually put me off and it was difficult to get into the drama every time she appeared. A good drama nonetheless but such a shame about Ms Martin.
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on 9 November 2014
I liked this mini series better than the book itself. P.D. James wrote a (rather mediocre) murder story set in Jane Austen's fictional Pemberley as a continuation of Pride and Prejudice, out of which an interesting film has been made that not only holds your interest but gives a very good view of the times and place.
Script, casting, sets, directing all get full marks.
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on 30 December 2013
This was the highlight of the Christmas television schedule for me. I'd been looking forward to it ever since I found out they were making an adaptation. I read the book last year and to be honest, wasn't overly impressed with it. However, I think that the screenwriters of this production took the best of it and made something wonderful. I thought all the actors were very good and made us believe in their individual predicaments, and made it easy to suspend our disbelief and just enjoy the production. The cinematography featuring Chatsworth and the Derbyshire countryside was fabulous, making the property itself almost a character in its own right, which it is to a large extent.

I thoroughly enjoyed the series and, like others, feel it is a shame that the BBC seems to have stopped releasing items on Blu-ray as that would be preferable to the DVD but as there is no other option, I am waiting patiently for the DVD to be released and will look forward to watching the series again in one fell swoop. Well done BBC. More of this ilk please!
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on 29 December 2013
Having studied P&P at school this year the story of what happens after the end of Austen's book is, of course, an intriguing question, and this does not disappoint! I was hooked from the beginning! The acting is brilliant - and Elizabeth's distress when Darcy is ignoring her is, in my opinion, very sad, and almost moving.
A must see!
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