Monday, 5 October 2009


OK, this one was easy and will not be a surprise for the loyal readers of this blog: Episode 1 of BBC One’s latest adaptation of classic Jane Austen novel Emma, starring Romola Garai, has been beaten in beauty by Doc Martin, on ITV1.

The presence of Emma ( on the BBC One 2009 Autumn lineup raised mixed feelings from viewers and critics more than bored by the idea of another "Braustens" (Brontë/Austen/Dickens) adaptation. After all it is tempting to ask who needs one more costume/period drama at a time when British television can deliver The Fixer or the superb Torchwood: Children of Earth event miniseries.

Nowadays you need something more to attract interest with another look at these fond masterpieces from the great British litterature. ITV1's Wuthering Heights had that with Tom Hardy (one of the best contemporary actors the UK can offer to the world) as the dark Heathcliff. The excellent Broadcast website give us the first rating numbers of this new Jane Austen adaptation on yesterday evening: 4.4m for Emma and 8.1m for the grumpy but lovable Doc Martin - more than last week (7.2m) vs Waking the Dead and its 6.3m (

Everybody is lost in Austen these days, even US singer Taylor Swift. The academism of many "Braustens" adaptations gives viewers the erroneous impression that the same Austen books are revisited each year, and cannot compete with the fresh tone of a wonderful show like Doc Martin. It's time to move on and make to Austen and Dickens what Baz Luhrmann did to Shakespeare with Romeo + Juliet. Or, Plan B, adapt more of all these great books not written by a Brontë family member, Charles Dickens or Jane Austen.

Or hire Tom Hardy as Mr Darcy. Round Two next week with Simon Cowell still acting as a lead-in for the Doc with The X Factor. What about Simon Cowell as Mr Darcy?

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