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This three part mini-series picks up six years after the finish of Pride and Prejudice.  Lizzie and Darcy are still happily married, and have a son, young Fitzwilliam.  As they are preparing for the annual ball at Pemberley, they are shocked when Lizzie’s younger sister Lydia arrives unannounced and says that there has been a shooting in the woods around Pemberley.  When Darcy organises a group of men to go and see, he finds his brother-in-law Wickham, cradling the body of Wickham’s friend Martin Denny.  Wickham is arrested for murder, and the Darcys look set to be dragged into scandal.

Modern sequels to much-loved classics can be very hit and miss, and I chose not to read the book by P D James, which this mini series was based on.  Partly because I like to leave Elizabeth and Darcy where the book finished – happy and in love – and partly because a murder mystery did not (to me) really seem in keeping with the themes of Pride and Prejudice.  Nonetheless, I was unable to resist watching the series, and for the most part, it was very enjoyable.

Matthew Rhys plays Darcy, who while still bearing the buttoned-up and formal demeanour of P&P, is clearly a devoted husband and involved father.  I really really enjoyed his portrayal, and thought that not only did he look exactly right for the part, but he also captured exactly how I thought Darcy should be.  Also, Matthew Goode (who I also really liked in Dancing on the Edge last year) was perfect as Wickham.  Dastardly, unfaithful, and untrustworthy – but a murderer?  Well, you’ll have to watch to find out, but Goode did make Wickham at least a somewhat sympathetic character.  Jenna Coleman was Lydia, and she too was excellent – I have always found Lydia to be an intensely irritating brat, but like Goode, Coleman brought some sympathy to the character.

I’m still not sure about Anna Maxwell Martin as Elizabeth – she is undoubtedly a terrific actress, but she doesn’t seem the right fit for Lizzie Bennet (Lizzie Darcy now, of course!) somehow; she looks nothing like how I would imagine Lizzie to look.  I liked the way the character was portrayed though – still with Lizzie’s strong spirit and healthy opinion, but also a loving wife.

The storyline was a bit hokey, and shifted the beloved characters into new territory, and a new genre, but it was entertaining enough to hold my attention for the three hour duration, and on balance, I would recommend it as a bit of enjoyable fun, rather than any kind of serious sequel.

Year of release: 2013

Director: Daniel Percival

Producers: Polly Hill, Ed Rubin, Joanie Blaikie, Rebecca Eaton, Patrick Irwin, P.D. James, Justin Thomson-Glover, Hugo Heppell, Eliza Mellor, Emma Pike, David M. Thompson

Writers: P.D. James (novel), Jane Austen (inspired by novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’), Juliette Towhidi

Main cast: Matthew Rhys, Anna Maxwell Martin, Matthew Goode, Jenna Coleman, Trevor Eve, Tom Ward, Eleanor Tomlinson, James Norton, Nichola Burley, Joanna Scanlan

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Click here for my review of the novel Pride and Prejudice.

Click here for my review of the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

Click here for my review of the 1995 mini series adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

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