Posts Tagged ‘dan stevens’

This three part adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel features Hattie Morahan as Elinor Dashwood, and Charity Wakefield as Marianne Dashwood.  The two sisters, together with their younger sister Margaret and their mother, are forced to move out of their family home, after their father dies with his whole estate being bequeathed to his son from his first marriage.  Settling into their new life, both the rational and calm Elinor and the more impetuous Marianne fall in love with two very different men, but find that the happiness they hope for is not to be so easily found.

I loved this adaptation, and thought that in particular Morahan and Wakefield were superb as the two sisters, with the characters being very faithful to how they were portrayed in the book.  Dan Stevens (who was to subsequently find fame as Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey) played Edward Ferrars, the young man who immediately catches Elinor’s eye, and he played the role wonderfully – a pleasant surprise for me, as I never enjoyed his Downton character.  Dominic Cooper was suitably seductive and untrustworthy as Willoughby, the young man who charms Marianne over, only to let her down, and David Morrissey was well cast as the honourable Colonel Brandon (with Alan Rickman’s excellent performance from the 1995 film adaptation in my head, I was again pleasantly surprised at how much Morrissey made the role his own).

There were some very moving moments, just as there should be, but there was also a lot of humour in this production.  While I do not really want to make comparisons, I have to say that I preferred this to the 1995  film, as I think the casting was generally much better, and a three hour series gives better opportunity for telling the story than a two hour film.  (However, fans of the novel would be advised to watch both adaptations.)  I definitely recommend this show.

Year of release: 2008

Director: John Alexander

Producers: Rebecca Eaton, Jessica Pope, Vanessa De Sousa, Anne Pivcevic

Writers: Jane Austen (novel), Andrew Davies

Main cast: Hattie Morahan, Charity Wakefield, David Morrissey, Janet McTeer, Dan Stevens, Dominic Cooper, Lucy Boynton, Mark Williams, Linda Bassett, Claire Skinner


Click here for my review of the 1995 film adaptation.


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Downton Abbey finished it’s seven episode run last night – sob!  However, the good news is that there will be another eight episodes next year, and I’ll be looking forward to watching them.

This show really captured viewers’ imaginations, pulling in an audience of nine million.  And why not?  It had it all – it looked fabulous, the writing was great with all the elements required for a great drama – intrigue, scandal, romance, secrets, treachery and humour.  However, what raised it head and shoulders above so many other shows was the top-notch cast: Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Dan Stevens, Brendan Coyle, Joanna Froggatt, Penelope Wilton, Ron James-Collier and Maggie Smith, to name a handful.

The story starts in 1912, when Lord Robert Crawley (Bonneville) discovers that his cousin and heir to Downton has perished aboard the Titanic.  As Lord and Lady Crawley only have daughters, this means that the heir is now a distant nephew, Matthew Crawley (Stevens).  As Matthew and his mother Isobel (Wilton) move to a cottage on the estate, the family and the new heir find it difficult to adjust to the new arrangement.  In particular, Lord Robert’s mother, Dowager Crawley (Smith) is concerned that her eldest grand-daughter, who was due to marry the original and now deceased heir, will lose out on the family’s fortune.

This provides the backdrop to the story, but equally as much time is focused on the lives of the staff at the house, and the social events in the lives of all of the characters.  The villains of the piece are footman Thomas (James-Collier) and Lady Cora’s maid, O’Brien (Siobhan Finneran).

In a time when there seems to be a dearth of good drama on television, and instead there is a deluge of awful reality and ‘talent’ shows, Downton Abbey provided some fabulous and intelligent entertainment.  If you didn’t catch it while it was on, I highly recommend that you put the DVD box set on your Christmas list, and indulge yourself!

Year of release: 2010

Directors: Brian Percival, Ben Bolt, Brian Kelly

Writer: Julian Fellowes

Main cast: Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, Brendan Coyle, Dan Stevens, Penelope Wilton, Rob James-Collier, Joanna Froggatt

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