Brideshead Revisited (1981)

In Amazing, based on novel, BBC, Classic Story, period drama, Recommendation, Review, romantic, series on 01/07/2011 at 6:54 pm

This classic series is a deservedly much praised telly dramatisation of the novel by Evelyn Waugh (published 1945), set in the 1920s-1940s. (Read a synopsis here. ) If I’d have to vote ‘best series of all time’, this would probably be it, and what’s more, the pivotal character in this story, Sebastian Flythe (Anthony Andrews), has to be one of the very best fictional characters I have ever had the pleasure of meeting – so to speak.

The episodes certainly take their time, but they work because they’re slow: you get the time to be sucked into the world of Sebastian Flythe, just like Charles Ryder (Jeremy Irons) is. You get the time to fall in love with Sebastian like Charles does. Sebastian – glass of champagne in one hand, Aloysius the teddy bear in the other – is not just my all time favourite character because he dons a teddy bear at Cambridge, he’s that because his tragedy is filled with intense pleasure, lust for life and love, melancholy, uncertainty, a spot of capriciousness and hurt all at once. And it doesn’t come out in any sensible order: Sebastian is great because he doesn’t make sense. And there you go: none of us do. We only go about trying to.

I could spill many more words on the characters, Cambridge, dandyism, whether Sebastian and Charles were indeed lovers or whether it was a ‘bromance’, the house (Brideshead) and Sebastian’s very Catholic family, but you could also lean back and enjoy it without me rambling on about it. I suggest some bubbly and strawberries to go with it.

NB: There’s a 2008 feature length remake. Stay well away from it.

  1. […] There’s only one man in the world who should play Oscar Wilde ever and that’s Stephen Fry, and so he did. Then there’s Jude Law as Wilde’s young lover Bosie, and he plays the part so brilliantly. It wouldn’t surprise me if Jude got a bit of his inspiration from Brideshead Revisited’s Sebastian. […]

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