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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 2 November 2012
This is a wonderful dramatisation of Ford Maddox Ford's novel Parade's End, following the life of Christopher Teijen's, an Edwardian gentleman, through the early years of the 20th Century until the end of the First World War. The production is lavish and performances by Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall, and other noteable British actors are sublime. Not to be missed, loved it and have sent it to several friends abroad!
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on 9 September 2012
It was always going to be hard to capture the essence of the Edwardian era and the subtleties of manners of the time, as well as deciding what to keep in and what to omit in what was, already, a long, complex text. However, with a script by the very talented Tom Stoppard, a playwright with many intelligent and densely allusional scripts behind him already, some great photography (some of the shots look like paintings they are so beautifully composed) and some (although not all at all times) excellent acting, this series really shows what the BBC can accomplish when it makes the effort. The brief bits of humour also break up the intensity and provide some lighter moments. A Highly accomplished achievement. Do buy it.
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on 28 May 2013
Being a fan of a good period drama, as-well-as a huge fan of Benedict Cumberbatch i naturally just had to watch this 5 part drama. 'Downton Abbey' it sure aint!! There's no comparison really, i find it a far more superior drama. It may not be to everyones taste and you really have to follow it carefully as it is based on the famous Ford Maddox Ford book which is a tough, but great read. Thankfully i read the book after seeing the series. So if you are into a good period drama which gives a good realistic insight into what life was like during the first world war, tackling society, class differences ....and a lot of 'gossip'!!!! and of course brilliant acting from an equally brilliant cast.....well this is for you.....and then go get the book!!
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on 26 November 2012
Benedict Cumberbatch portrayed a fascinating and enigmatic character, rare in television drama. This was an absorbing, well-paced series, which I watched straight over again once the DVD came out in order to pick up nuances missed during the first television outing. Being a literary adaption however, the gaps were noticeable (I have not read the novels, but like most of these dramas compression of narrative sometimes leaves one wishing for a bit more - but perhaps that's the whole point). All the actors were, I thought, rendered their characters pretty much perfectly.
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on 19 September 2012
The acting from Cumberbatch and Hall (understated and theatrical respectively) is masterclass and fits Christopher and Sylvia perfectly. The script is genius and the photography breathtaking. The presentation of the story though is a bit different from the book. This is more Sylvia-centric (just count the number of monologues and screen time Sylvia has). The book on the other hand focuses on Christopher more. You get more from Valentine as well. Nonetheless, this is a reminder that the BBC makes period drama best.
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on 4 October 2012
The 4 books are long, difficult...and rewarding: this was early modernism, and used an unfamiliar style, which aimed to unearth a deeper reality. I would suggest that Tom Stoppard successfully reflects this in his dramatization. Human thought is never linear and rarely coherent. The actors were spot-on: Benedict Cumberbatch is mesmerizing and Rebecca hall played Sylvia to perfection. I was entranced. A glorious piece of television drama - poetic, ethereal, gritty, wise and with that wonderful bleak humour....sheer bliss
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on 22 November 2012
The concept of Parade's End highlighted the behaviour of an era. And how life and love and war can change society. With the central character, a conservative English aristocrat, played by the delicious Benedict Cumberbatch, torn between two very different women. He, like his world, will never be the same. So beautifully shot, so brilliantly played, I watched it twice in a row!
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on 20 November 2012
I never watch period drama - ever. But I watched this and was completely gripped. Everything about it is outstanding from the way it is shot to the brilliant script and above all the superlative acting; all helped along by the impossibly beautiful Adelaide Clemens as Valentine. Don't watch this just once; see it several times to pick up the myriad subtle connections scattered through the dialogue. Simply amazing.
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on 10 November 2015
This is sublime TV created from a set of sublime books. Ford Maddox Ford's set of books - there are four, but the author was dissatisfied with the final one, which although it draws all the characters together, is very different in tone and feel to the first three, so it is understandable Tom Stoppard only dramatised these - are considered the best ever books about Word War 1 in their study of the mental pressures and psychological damage of such a war.

With their timeshifts and multiple points of view, these were never going to be the easiest books to dramatise, but Stoppard has done a remarkable job. You really care about the characters and their story over ten years; a story of both war and it's prelude and a love triangle between three fascinating characters - the painfully upright and honourable Christopher, his manipulative and vindictive wife Sylvia and the luminous young suffragette who falls in love with him. Christopher is a great and enigmatic yet fallible character (I've loved him for years) Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays him with depth and brilliant straight from the heart and core of his being, reckons this is the most interesting character he has ever played, and has even called his son Christopher.

In truth this is a breathtakingly good adaptation with some remarkable performances. Rebecca Hall - beautiful, haughty, selfish and hyper intelligent - is Sylvia, Adelaide Cummins, an Australian actor, suffragette schoolmistress Miss Wannop. In support there are actors of the calibre of Roger Allam - as the stuffy colonel who is Chrissie's godfather with some wonderfully Blimpish lines - Janet McTeer, Stephen Graham, Anne Marie Duff, Rufus Sewell, Robert Stevenson, Rupert Everett, Alan Howard and more. Great cinematography and editing, excellent direction, a touching sense of place and dignity, this is a TV series that will linger long in the mind from books that can tear the heart.

Yet at the heart of it all is the most touching and eloquent internal performance from Cumberbatch. Whether soothing his sleepless child, fighting in the trenches, dealing with tragedy, coping with malignity or stupidity and always turning the other cheek and doing the honourable thing, this is quite simply acting of the highest calibre. And when he simply turns his face into the neck of his horse it would be a heartless viewer who does not want to cry with him.

Television heaven to enhance your life.
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on 30 May 2015
One of the best BBC drama productions of the last 20 years. Although Stoppard has produced a miracle of adaptation of the three source books, it still needs (and rewards) very close attention to get every nuance. Every performance if closely observed and the production as a whole has a tremendous confidence. Cumberbatch simply is Tientjins; but the very best performance is Rebecca Hall's as his wife, a wonderful balace of longing, hate, disdain and need. She was nominated for an Emmy and should have got it. Episodes 1 and 4 in particular are miracles of television.
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