16. Persuasion

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In this episode we turn our attention to a 1995 adaptation (and for Andy’s money the best adaptation) of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. It stars Amanda Root, best known for the reboot of The Forsyte Saga, as Anne Elliot who is apparently already an ‘old maid’ at 27! Ciaran HInds (Game of Thrones’ Mance Rayder) plays dashing Captain Wentworth, whose marriage proposal Anne previously turned down due to the interference of Susan Fleetwood’s Lady Russell. Also among the sterling cast are Killing Eve’s Fiona Shaw as Mrs Croft, everyone’s favourite Marshal of Atrios, John Woodvine as Admiral Croft, Sophie Thompson as Mary Musgrove, Corin Redgrave as Sir Walter Elliot, Phoebe Nicholls as Elizabeth Elliot, and Samuel West as Mr Elliot. There are also some lovely roles for Judy Cornwell, David Collings, and Robert Glenister, and there’s not a duff performance anywhere. Andy gives the production a ‘6’ on a new scale he has created to judge Austen adaptations: The Bonnet Scale. This by the way is good score on said scale. A 6 means its not too bonnety - not too chocolate box and hearts and flowers, it having something valuable and realistic to say about the historical period as well as being a heartwarming story of unrequited love. It’s Martin’s first watch of this adaptation or even much of 'crisis in corsets' TV but he likes what he sees. In fact he watched it twice in preparation for this podcast. Andy is reminded of his A-Levels and studying the novel for English, but thankfully he does not read out his lengthy essay from 1989 about Louisa’s all important accident at the Cobb! Andy also reveals the reason for his lifelong hatred of Bath, where it always rains. Talking of rain, ee also consider the importance of umbrellas in period drama. And after 31 years Andy finally discovers why the name Captain Wentworth has always sounded vaguely familiar to him. TV fans will not be disappointed. We hope you continue to enjoy our little journey through the British television archives and to almost quote Mary Musgrove: “We’re very sorry if our podcast is insufficiently grand for you!” Next Time: A Question of Attribution (by Alan Bennett)

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