Screen Adaptations

I think all readers the world over are united in their dislike of atrocious adaptations of favoured books. A lot can go wrong with putting someone’s characters on the screen. Or not putting a character on screen. Particularly an important or well-liked character.

I remember watching the first Harry Potter film in the cinema and being upset by the lack of Peeves.

Some years ago, coming across a a small-screen adaptation of Love in a Cold Climate/The Pursuit of Love, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. The cast promised fine things, with Rosamund Pike as the narrator Fanny Logan.

It was a disappointment from start to finish, having cut Linda’s elder sister Louisa as well as Fanny’s surrogate parents Davey and Aunt Emily, amongst other sins. The loss of Emily and Louisa were, perhaps, not such great losses, really, but the loss of Davey was too terrible for words. I cast the DVDs aside in a temper.

But recently, I discovered a 1980 adaptation, starring Judi Dench as the matriarch Aunt Sadie (although she’s much too vague a person to warrant being called the matriarch). To my delight, even the younger Radlett children were cast, and the entrenching tool made an appearance. And the scriptwriter clearly read the novel, filching some of Nancy Mitford’s own lines.

The only drawback is the horrible first episode, which threw all the wonderful details of the Radlett childhood in, with little regard to how natural (or not!) it all is. Toe-curlingly ghastly. But it’s only one episode and the rest is really wonderful.



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