Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dear BBC, I love you forever

Today was a wonderful day, for one simple reason. My boss gave me back my copy of North & South, which she borrowed in JANUARY. I've been going through withdrawal symptoms ever since... If you've never seen North & South, you need to go out and find it IMMEDIATELY. Cos, look:
Rawr. And also, source

Or you could just watch this (EPIC spoiler...):


As far as I'm concerned, North & South is, hands down, the best costume drama the BBC has ever produced. Course, it doesn't hurt that I have a serious weak spot for a Midlands accent, courtesy of doing a study abroad program in Leicester in 2002...

While North & South tops my list, I've yet to meet a BBC costume drama that I don't love. Actually, that's a lie. The ones that were made before 1995 are pretty crap. Speaking of 1995, it brought us Colin Firth this:

Since then, there've been these:

  • Vanity Fair. I spent most of 1998 obsessed with this, and I still love it.
  • David Copperfield. It introduced Daniel Radcliffe to the world, and for that I shall be eternally grateful.
  • Wives & Daughters. My introduction to Elizabeth Gaskell. Plus, Justine Waddell is great in it.
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel. Richard E. Grant is a genius. And the portion of 1998 that wasn't taken up with Vanity Fair was taken up with this.
  • Jane Eyre. The Toby Stephens version. SO much better than the 1983 version with Timothy Dalton that we were subjected to in high school. I'm kind of curious to see how the new movie version with Michael Fassbender stacks up.
  • Little Dorrit. If it hadn't starred Matthew McFugly McFaddyn, who I hate with a fiery passion, this would have been pretty much perfect. Okay, Russell Tovey could have cried a little less too...
  • Cranford. Brilliant. That's all there is to it! Kind of weird, because the book was really quite dull...
  • Sense & Sensibility. Minus the movie version's horrific Emma Thompson sobfest when she's proposed to. Plus Dan Stevens chopping wood in the rain. Yes please.
  • The Forsyte Saga. Damian Lewis plays quite possibly the creepiest ginger in history, other than Uriah Heep...
  • Daniel Deronda. I can't stand George Eliot books, I really can't. But I enjoyed this.
  • The Lost World. Sure, the story was completely changed from Arthur Conan Doyle's original text, but you get Tom Ward sporting a hilarious moustache and generally acting like Lord Flashart. Woof! And speaking of which...
  • Blackadder. Okay, not a costume drama. But it's still the Beeb and it's still genius!
  • Great Expectations. Good grief, they really did cast Justine Waddell in everything for a while there... Still, it was good! 
  • Bleak House. Apparently the most difficult of Dickens' books to get through (I'll let you know - I bought it the other week and it's sitting in the pile waiting for me to finish Harry Potter). The series was completely incredible.
  • Emma. Somehow, I've managed to not see this yet. Probably because Emma is my least favourite Austen book by a LONG way...
  • Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Aah, Thomas Hardy. Makes you want to slit your wrists, but it was beautifully done.
  • Persuasion. The 1995 movie version with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds.'s the Beeb, so I imagine it aired on TV in the UK. But I saw this at the movies for my 13th birthday, and I love every single second of it. 
(There are probably a bunch more, but that's all that springs to mind, and it seems the Beeb themselves don't have a list available anywhere. Weird...) Basically? The BBC costume dramas are amazeballs and they make me stupidly happy.

What's your favourite BBC costume drama?

K xx

PS. Oh dear God. There's apparently a new version of Great Expectations coming out next year. And it stars Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham.......... *brain explodes* Wait. Now I'm really confused. IMDB says there are TWO versions of Great Expectations coming out next year, and both are affiliated with the BBC. One stars Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham, and the other stars Helena Bonham Carter. I'm really not sure which is worse! O.o


  1. Oh gosh, I must be in the dark ages still ... I still love the 1995 P&P and fall in love the Colin Firth everytime I watch it. In addition to your list, there was a very good BBC? mini series of Tom Jones that must have been screened on TV in the last decade (showing my age), which was very good. And also Amazing Grace (the movie) ... a-mazing.

    Kelly xo
    Elegantly Academic

  2. I love Wuthering Heights done by BBC Yorkshire in 2009. Actually, that might have been ITV that did it... but it's a costume drama Ye Olde Adaptation anyway and you should TOTES watch it because Wuthering Heights is only my favourite book EVER.
    And I also love Lost in Austen from 2008 where a modern girl switches place with Elizabeth. Best version of Pride and Prejudice I've seen, although you do have to know the story first, and I saw the 1995 P&P before I saw that.

  3. @Kelly - oooooh, somehow I missed Tom Jones! I'll have to try and find a copy on DVD. And Amazing Grace is GREAT!!
    @Lissa - I think you might be right about it being ITV. I contemplated including ITV stuff on the list, because I LOVE Hornblower and the recent Northanger Abbey. I'll have to try and find that Wuthering Heights! I also need to rewatch Lost in Austen. I was kind of confused the first time because I thought it was going to be an adaptation of a book I read called "Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict" - it started out much the same - and then it wasn't!

  4. Matthew McFugly, hahahaha!!!

    I don't know anything about costume dramas, because I usually fill my time with such filth as "Pretty Little Liars" and "The Bachelorette", but perhaps I should give them a try!

  5. Ohmygod, I love Richard Armitage. I continued watching Robin Hood because I absolutely adore him! (Well, him and Harry Lloyd.) It's also 90% of why I keep watching MI-5, just to get to him showing up. *weep*

    And yes, when I saw the clip/video, I was like "I KNOW IT'S HIM, BUT I HAVE TO DOUBLE-CHECK. I'D RECOGNISE THOSE CHEEKS ANYWHERE."

  6. How the hell did I miss this post?! My Colin radar must be faulty, very strange. Thank you for brightening my Saturday with gratuitous photos of my favourite boys :)

    Feeling the need for a little Armitage-fest of my own now...


  7. @Kayla - you should definitely try out some costume dramas. If nothing else, the man candy has a more natural skin colour than what you get on reality TV ;)
    @Nikki - I gave up on Spooks after pretty much the first season (couldn't deal with the McFugly factor...), so never made it as far as the Richard Armitage episodes. I plan to fix this when I move home!
    @Sara - I have no idea how you missed this either. Probably because your brain was too filled up with Take That lyrics!!! ;) You need to get that faulty Colin radar checked out ASAP... xx

  8. Speaking of the mother of all costume dramas(so to speak)- We went to Winchester the other day and I totally didn't realise Jane Austen is buried in the cathedral there - I quite literally walked over her grave...apparently she is the only woman to have an epitaph longer than about 5 words in the whole place - what a woman!

  9. You should see the BBC version of Middlemarch (1994), even if it is George Eliot and before 1995... Smack Rosamond Vincy for me while you're there please, several times if you feel inclined.


    (I'm a random person off the internet who got here from


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