Masterpiece Theatre: Pride and Prejudice (1980)

Pride and Prejudice (1980); director, Cyril Coke (5 episodes); adapted by Fay Weldon from the novel by Jane Austen; with Elizabeth Garvie as Elizabeth Bennet, David Rintoul as Darcy, Sabina Franklyn as Jane Bennet,  Osmond Bullock as Bingley.  A BBC production.

This version aired on television fifteen years before the renowned Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle adaptation of Jane Austen’s famous book. As such, it shows its age, being rather studio-bound and stiff in its construction.

However, Elizabeth Garvie does come across as closer to Austen’s conception of Lizzie Bennet than either Jennifer Ehle or Greer Garson in the Hollywood film.

Sabina Franklyn is particularly good as Jane, not a mouse but just a genuinely nice person, while Clare Higgins (Kitty), Tessa Peake-Jones (Mary), and Natalie Ogle (Lydia) are watchable as the remaining Bennet sisters.

Of particular interest though is David Rintoul’s Darcy. Of a very different stamp to the brooding landowner of the 1995 version, he gives an extremely interesting portrayal, just as attractive in its way, and again, closer to the character depicted in the book. Others of note in the cast are Moray Watson as Mr Bennet, and Judy Parfitt as Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

About Louise Penn

Writer, reviewer, fan. View all posts by Louise Penn

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