Today: May 18, 2024

Revisiting Pride & Prejudice

Nothing says Valentine’s Day like Jane Austen. The celebrated British novelist wrote period romance like nobody else, and over the years, the BBC have beautifully adapted the timeless tales. But one of their series stands out as not just their finest, but one of the greatest romantic adaptations of all time. One scene alone has become part of television legend – Colin Firth, a wet shirt, and a lake.

Although first adapted by the BBC in 1980 and starring Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul, it is the iconic 1995 version of Austen’s Pride & Prejudice that has stood the test of time as the definitive take on the story of Elizabeth Bennet (Jennifer Ehle) and Fitzwilliam Darcy (Firth). Winning several awards including the Best Actress BAFTA for Ehle and an Emmy for Costume Design, the series was part of the so-called ‘Austen-mania’ phenomenon in the mid-1990s that saw interest in the author skyrocket and further adaptations of her work hit the big and small screens alike. The series is also credited with launching Firth into stardom, although his desire to not be associated with Pride & Prejudice forever meant he has done few roles like it since – not counting his work in the Bridget Jones films, which effectively see him reprising his role as a modern-day equivalent. His character is even called Darcy.

But aside from the iconography from the series that has become etched in viewers’ memories, there is actually an incredible series beneath and indeed between all of the wet shirts and bonnets. Certainly the definitive Austen adaptation and the finest romantic period drama ever put to screen, there’s a reason the series earned a place on Entertainment Weekly’s list of the 20 best miniseries of all time. With wonderful writing that faithfully brings Austen’s words to life while giving them a subtly fresh slant that makes the whole series far more accessible to folk who’ve never touched a period romance. The series holds up remarkably well now, with very few of the hallmarks that age TV drama; the 1700s setting is so perfectly realised that the series feels timeless. 

Pride & Prejudice is a masterpiece of television that serves as the definitive example of its subgenre. 

 

PRIDE & PREJUDICE is available now on 25th Anniversary Blu-ray

Experience the BBC BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning series Pride and Prejudice like never before, as the magic of period drama is rekindled with state of the art technology.

Returning to the original film negatives, this stunning adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel has been painstakingly restored frame-by-frame to reveal the sumptuous costume and detail that makes Austen’s world so enchanting. With its outstanding performances and stunning visuals, Pride and Prejudice plunges the viewer into a 19th century world of grand country estates, eligible bachelors, and exquisite soirées.

This Blu-ray release also features a retrospective with interviews from writer Andrew Davies, and costume designer Dinah Collin

 

Samuel Love

Freelance writer. Email: samuel@smlcreative.co.uk

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