Pride and Prejudice Forums

BBC (ended 1995)

What Is Your Opinion Of The Casting Of The BBC Version?

  • Avatar of Lady_Lancaster


    [1]Jul 25, 2009
    • member since: 05/27/09
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    I've seen several versions of P & P, including the original movie, but I thought that casting in the BBC mini-series was practically flawless.

    For example, I don't think I need mention the excellence of Colin Firth as Mr.Darcy.

    I thought Alison Steadman was just perfect as Mrs. Bennet, as was Benjamin Whitrow as Mr. Bennet, they were both very funny and skilled.

    David Bamber managed to pull off an excellent Mr.Collins, even though he is described as being much younger in the book.

    Crispin Bonham Carter captured the essence of Bingley perfectly and Susannah Harker worked perfectly with him as Jane.

    Anna Chancellor was, without doubt, the best Caroline Bingley I have seen, so arrogant and opinionated!

    And Barbara Leigh Hunt could not have played Lady Catherine more superbly, in my opinion.

    Of course, these are just MY opinions, I'd be really interested to hear what you have to say and if you think any other actors could have portrayed the mini series roles better and, naturally, include any others you feel deserve a mention!

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  • Avatar of gabfan31


    [2]Aug 15, 2009
    • member since: 11/09/06
    • level: 100
    • rank: Master of the Universe
    • posts: 1,218
    Honestly, Matthew McFayden has grown on me as Darcy, which isn't to say that I prefer him to Colin, just that I find him equally compelling in different ways. I felt Colin was a wee tad too old for the role, so I would have liked it if he had gotten the chance to play the part five years earlier. Jennifer Ehle was technically six years too old to play Elizabeth, but it didn't seem as noticeable to me for some reason. As for the rest of the roles, I thought the casting was on the whole perfect. I really liked Colonel Fitzwilliam (I forget the actor's name, I'm sorry to say), because he honestly looked like he could have been related to Colin. I particularly loved Mrs Bennet, and according to the other actors who were interviewed for the DVD release of the miniseries, she was the grand dame of the set, who always had the perfect advice on the story and how people could best get their roles across on screen. That kind of experience and wisdom is too valuable to go unmentioned, so I'm glad they gave her so much credit. The one person I really had trouble with was Julia Sawalha as Lydia- she was DEFINATELY too old for the part, and unfortunately every time I saw her, I inevitably thought of her as Saffy on Absolutely Fabulous. But what I liked about them was not only how they looked and acted, but also how they all envisioned their characters. What I mean is, in the miniseries version, Jennifer Ehle played a very confident, mature young woman who wasn't afraid to speak her mind, but also could find humor in life's troubles. Keira's Elizabeth, however, was an immature girl who spent much too much time giggling, and it was harder for me to see how Darcy could have been so irresistibly attracted to her. This foundation of the character, envisioning who the person is down deep, colors every choice the actor makes in moving, speaking, and their expressions, and I found so much more depth in that of Jennifer Ehle's Elizabeth. Does this make sense? Maybe I'm too obsessive. But I'm starting to write a novel based on P&P, using a What If? scenario, namely, "What if Colonel Fitzwilliam decided to propose to Elizabeth at Hunsford before Darcy could, and she said yes?" It's kind of sacrilegious, I know, but that's part of what makes it so fascinating to think about. If you're interested in hearing more about the story, I'm planning on posting some of it to my blog, as soon as I have something worthy of sharing.
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