Sunday, August 30, 2015

My highlight: Lady Chatterley’s Lover

DH Lawrence’s gamekeeper has cleaned up his act and Sir Clifford is a dish in the BBC’s new morally complex adaptation 

James Norton and Holliday Grainger inthe BBC's  Lady Chatterley's Lover

James Norton and Holliday Grainger inthe BBC’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Photograph: BBC 

Kathryn Hughes - The Guardian -Saturday 29 August 2015 
The potty-mouthed gamekeeper is back. Oliver Mellors, he of the corduroy breeches, is striding towards us in the shape of Richard Madden (Rod Stark in Game of Thrones) in the BBC’s new version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Except that he’s cleaned up his act. Madden’s Mellors is positively bashful when it comes to four-letter words. It’s a decorous “bottom” instead of “arse”, and there’s just one “cock”, right at the end, at which point Lady C is so embarrassed she doesn’t know where to look.

Director Jed Mercurio, who also wrote the adaptation, maintains that there’s no justification these days for bad language. The words that got the book banned for 30 years have lost their original purpose, which was to de-smut sex. This seems sensible.

Less happy, perhaps, is Mercurio’s belief that other parts of Lawrence’s message are unrecoverable. In the novel Mellors has served in the army as an officer and a (temporary) gentleman, which makes his subsequent gamekeeping, and all that “theeing” and “thouing”, a bit annoying to Connie Chatterley, who wonders why he keeps putting on that silly voice.

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