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Return of the Pallisers

February 7th, 2008 (10:28 am)

I've not read any Anthony Trollope, but I know that there are a few Trollope readers looking in on this journal. Media Guardian are reporting that
Andrew Davies is adapting Trollope's Palliser novels for the BBC, as a series of 30-minute episodes on the model of 2005's Bleak House.

I've only seen one episode of the 1974 The Pallisers, on the BBC Archive Trial last year; it was splendidly dull and weighed down by the miscasting of Philip Latham as Plantagenet opposite a detached Susan Hampshire as Glencora; there seemed little encouragement in the production for the viewer to want to continue to follow these characters, who were nonetheless being built into the focus of the series. The Pallisers became notorious for a strike-bound production which led to the final episode not actually being finished when it was scheduled for broadcast, and (I think) a repeat run of the whole twenty-six part epic starting instead, awaiting the end of the strike so the final episode could have its studio sessions taped and edited.


Posted by: The Mezzo Mongoose (miss_next)
Posted at: February 7th, 2008 10:39 am (UTC)

I recall my parents being very enthusiastic about that at the time.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: February 7th, 2008 11:22 am (UTC)

I first became aware of it in the early 1980s, when Doctor Who Monthly started pointing out how many casting decisions in Who were inspired by The Pallisers, particularly that of Anthony Ainley (Revd Emilius in The Pallisers) as the Master.

Posted by: Naraht (emily_shore)
Posted at: February 7th, 2008 10:44 am (UTC)

The Way We Live Now is also an Andrew Davies adaptation, I believe, and I've just borrowed it from brightlywoven and exactlyhalf. While I've only watched the first episode so far, it seems a little heavy-handed to me; it lacks the wit and the subtlety of the novels, and caricatures the characters without adding the human sympathy that Trollope has for them in abundance. It seems that it would be hard to adapt his works because the narrative voice is such a big part of their charm.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: February 7th, 2008 11:20 am (UTC)

I saw some of The Way We Live Now when it went out - but as too often happens in the present age (but perhaps it was ever thus), the PR overshadowed the production, with lots of newspaper articles speculating whether Trollope was an anti-Semite, a line peddled I suspected to highlight Davies's interpretation and Suchet's casting.

Posted by: Naraht (emily_shore)
Posted at: February 7th, 2008 11:32 am (UTC)

Speculating? Of course Trollope was an anti-semite, as was the vast majority of Victorian England. I'm surprised that it was even in question.

On the other hand, from what I've seen so far of the Davies, he hasn't really problematized that whole issue as much as I had hoped. Perhaps it'll get better. We'll see.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: February 7th, 2008 12:01 pm (UTC)

We don't like to think ill of our forebears, particularly ones prone to give us costume drama; and in mediaspeak "Trollope's anti-semitism" can easily be turned into "How far was Trollope responsible for the Holocaust?"

A more direct comparison made was that between Suchet's Melmotte and Robert Maxwell; one looks like a caricature of the other in some photographs.

Posted by: Virgers! How are we doing with those explosives? (tree_and_leaf)
Posted at: February 7th, 2008 11:08 am (UTC)


Though my parents speak very highly of the 1974 Pallisers, and sometimes lament that it's not on DVD.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: February 7th, 2008 11:13 am (UTC)

It is on DVD, apparently - though I've never actually seen it anywhere.

Posted by: ms_rebecca_riot (ms_rebecca_riot)
Posted at: February 7th, 2008 07:27 pm (UTC)

I love a Trollope at bedtime. ho ho.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: February 8th, 2008 12:38 am (UTC)

A few people have been there, done that...