On Loving My Friends on the BBC…
Last night I watched Episode One of the BBC’s production of War and Peace. I’ve started to read the book three separate times, and have never made it past page fifty. So, I decided, this was a good a chance as any, and most likely would be more authentic to the page than the 1956 Hollywood version with Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer.
Imagine my delight when the first person I recognized was Chief Superintendent Innocent, Robby Lewis’s boss (Inspector Lewis), She was quickly followed by Cousin Rose (Downton Abbey), and then I’m almost sure by Edith (Downton, again). My head was spinning. Here they were, playing different parts, but I knew them. Yes, here were my old friends.
Then, all before the first commercial, mind you, who appeared but my dear sweet Sydney Chambers (Grantchester) who somehow managed to look fetching, tortured and incredibly handsome in a bicorn hat that covered his ears. Then I discovered Agnes (Mr. Selfridge), although, I must admit, it took me a while to place her.
Seeing these people whom I knew gave me a warm feeling, for, indeed, I do feel that I do know them. We watched an old, old episode of Midsomer Murders a few evenings ago, and there was Carson (Downton, again) only this time with dark hair and a decidedly sexy manner. We saw Hathaway (Inspector Lewis, again) in an early episode of Foyle’s War, and then, what a treat, to see younger brother Tristan (All Creatures Great and Small) as the lead Detective “Dangerous” Davies (The Last Detective), and then again as the chief constable enamored of Adela Bradley (Mrs. Bradley Mysteries).
My husband is sure this reappearance of familiar faces is because they just don’t have that many actors in England. (He considers all BBC productions to be repertory.) I don’t subscribe to that. Rather, I like to think that they are aware of the special place they have in my heart and know that their visits bring me joy.
To be fair, the series has quite a few heavy hitters besides those whom I recognize from new and old BBC series. Paul Dano as Pierre, who to me looks like an aging Harry Potter who’s enjoyed quite a few cheeseburgers, and Jim Broadbent who is, as always, superb in his understated craftsmanship.
It is hard work to see my pals as the characters they’re now playing – Natasha, Pierre, Sonya, Bolkonsky…. but I do know who they are, really.
Now, I must return to Episode Two. I can hardly wait to see which of my BBC mates will surprise me with an appearance.
Another Sunday, http://www.cynthiastrauff.com