A weekend Lost in Austen…

For a while now I have had the ITV mini-series ‘Lost in Austen’ sat in my ‘to-watch’ pile. I missed it when it was aired, but had heard mixed reviews and so I wasn’t really sure what to expect.. Torn between lamenting any kind of ‘butchering’ of Austen’s characters whilst also being intrigued/generally excited about the plot premise. For anyone who hasn’t already seen it- the show was a four part mini series which sees a modern day girl (Amanda, played by the lovely Jemima Rooper), transported into the world of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice through a portal in her bathroom. Sounds kind of silly I know.. but come on, who wouldn’t love to find themselves suddenly thrown into a world occupied by Mr Darcy?!

Well, the answer is of course, not that simple.. Amanda finds herself thrown into the plot of her favourite novel, but not everything is as it seems.. The upshot is that we have a hilariously funny mash-up of all our beloved Austen characters- with plot twists ranging from Jane Bennets marriage to Collins (erlack!), Mr Wickham’s turning out to be a good guy (outrageous I know!) and even Miss Bingley coming out as a lesbian. Far-fetched it is, most assuredly, but also kind of wonderfully bizarre at the same time.

Casting is genius.. with Hugh Bonneville playing a fantastic Mr Bennet alongside a (feisty!) Alex Kingston as Mrs Bennet, Gemma Arterton as Lizzy Bennet (who finds herself enamoured with modern day technology and gets a job as a nanny)  and Eliot Cowan as everyone’s favourite fictional hero, Mr Darcy. Cowan is a great Darcy- pulling off the broody, rudely-arrogant-but-also-kind-of-endearing character whilst also not looking too shabby in his wet shirt and breeches a la Colin Firth.

In short therefore, the show was fun- a genuinely enjoyable romp which never took itself too seriously… It also posed the question- what would you do if you were suddenly teleported into your favourite novel and came face to face with a fictional hero like Darcy? Make him dive in the pool at Pemberley and parade his wet shirtedness infront of your every eyes? (I think so!)

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