tue 25/06/2024

costume drama

W.E.

“I’m not a beautiful woman,” Wallis Simpson once declared. “I’m nothing to look at, so the only thing I can do is dress better than anyone else.” Madonna’s second feature W.E. operates under a similar philosophy – with rather less success. Never...

Read more...

The Mystery of Edwin Drood, BBC Two

You can never have enough Dickens, doctors say. Or is it exercise? Either way, the BBC has gone to town on the 200th anniversary of Dickens's birth as if the moths are eating away in the Victorian closet and all the costumes need to be used as much...

Read more...

Downton Abbey, Series 2 Finale, ITV1

And so the eventful second series surged to a close with a bumper 90-minute edition - or at least it was in a 90-minute slot, generously padded with the commercials battling to scramble aboard the great ship Downton - and we were still left dangling...

Read more...

Anonymous

Everyone is working against type, or so it would seem, in Roland Emmerich's deeply bizarre Anonymous, which asks us to accept a celluloid slob (Rhys Ifans) as an aristocrat, a vaunted republican (Vanessa Redgrave) as Elizabeth I and a highly...

Read more...

Downton Abbey, Series 2, ITV1

And now for that difficult second album. Downton Abbey’s stately progress last autumn revived in television audiences a taste thought long dead: for populist drama offering a sepia-tinted vision of the English class system in which the well-to-do...

Read more...

Jane Eyre

As fresh and enchanting as the first flushes of spring, Cary Joji Fukunaga’s imaginative retelling of Charlotte Brontë’s 19th-century proto-feminist novel captures the thrill of attraction with rare perception, sweep and tenderness. It foregrounds...

Read more...

The Night Watch, BBC Two

Sarah Waters’s highly praised novels have marched from the page to the screen with regimental regularity and no apparent sacrifice in quality. Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith, with their big Victorian brushstrokes, were built for television no...

Read more...

The School for Scandal, Barbican Theatre

Social graces: Alan Howard delights as the elderly cynic Sir Peter Teazle

"There’s no possibility of being witty without a little ill-nature,” preaches the Gospel according to Richard Brinsley Sheridan. What the playwright omits to mention, however, is that it is possible to be ill-natured without in fact being terribly...

Read more...

The Crimson Petal and the White, BBC Two

Playing a prostitute on film has been big career business for some very famous actresses, not least Jane Fonda, Elizabeth Taylor and Julia Roberts, but it hasn't worked quite the same way on TV. Unless you count Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Or Moll...

Read more...

DVD: Upstairs Downstairs

When it was broadcast over Christmas the jury was split on Upstairs Downstairs. Some were spitting with rage at the temerity inherent in the idea of revisiting 165 Eaton Place (though the street exteriors, it's revealed on the DVD documentary, were...

Read more...

Lark Rise to Candleford, BBC One

Victorian corsetry at its finest: Julia Sawalha and Olivia Hallinan at the hub of Candleford life

Few would dispute the supremacy of Cranford and Lark Rise to Candleford among the BBC’s current fleet of costume dramas. Measured, domestic and infinitely gentle, there are no Machiavellian footmen or illicit trysts here, just wholesome country...

Read more...

Agatha Christie's Marple: The Secret of Chimneys, ITV1

If there’s one thing the British love on television at Christmas time, it’s a period drama, and even better, a period mystery. So what joy when there’s a bit of sleuthing by Agatha Christie's yin to Hercule Poirot’s yang, the eagle-eyed wise old...

Read more...
Subscribe to costume drama