Being rather a costume drama geek, I look forward to each new adaptation but this disappointed me greatly. I can only reccommend it to those who want complete brain off viewing.
Despite this, your brain really has to be dead not to notice some true c**k-ups throughout the production: The costumes are horrendous - badly designed and about as historically accurate as a Mel Gibson Movie. I can not say one good thing about any of them - some of Fleur's outfits being by far the worst (I swore I saw her dancing in a flurescent pink and yellow dress in one scene - just nasty even by todays fashions and this was ment to be the glamorous 1920's). And the less said about the attempts of the make-up department the better (if I age as quickly as June (Gillian Kearney) I'll be a very happy individual.)
Damien Lewis does his best but is really too young and good looking for Soames. Not to mention Gina McKee as Irene. I did try to keep an open mind when watching her, as she got alot of flak from the press for her interpretation, but when you find yourself thinking about the actress behind the part and why she considers that reaction feasible, you do just have to admit its bad acting, casting, writing and direction.
Corin Redgrave (spelt Colin on the DVD) and Robert Graves were the only ones that I feel really should get the credit for keeping me watching the whole series. I can't say that Redgrave possibly stretched himself but his character at least has warmth and humility, and Graves offered more depth in his interpretation of Young Jolyon, than most of the rest of the main cast.
It is easy to blame the cast for such a dreadful production, when the fault really lies with the Direction. How Director Andy Wilson thought that his cast were perfect or encouraged their interpretations (or possibly even making them this bad) is beside me. One can only imagine he has never read the book, seen the 1967 production or done one ounce of historical research. Such a shame, as I am sure in other hands it could have been excellent. If you're wanting a sprawling epic of a period drama try Andrew Davies' 'Bleak House', Michael Lindsay-Hogg and Charles Sturridge's 'Brideshead Revisited' or Julian Farino's 'Our Mutual Friend' - all of which have a excellent Cast, fantstic Production and dynamic and inspired Direction.
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