/ Gentleman Jack
Has anyone else watched this?
I was interested as the story was unusual and that the dramatisation was by Sally Wainwright who was responsible for, IMO, the excellent Happy Valley.
I really enjoyed it.
It's brilliant in every respect-script, acting costume etc. It does serve to show, if you're as old as me (late 50's) how things have changed-a mainstream prime time big budget TV show about lesbianism (and other things) even 10 years ago would have seemed pretty out there.
If I remember rightly the Sarah Waters written, although adapted by others, Tipping the Velvet (2002) and Fingersmith (2005) were a little more lurid, the former particularly. I’m also reminded of Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit (1990). Maybe not quite fitting your primetime, big budget criteria, but award winning BBC productions.
I remember those shows, but they were pitched as left field experimental stuff-Gentleman Jack might as well be Jane Austen by comparison.
No comment on Gentleman Jack but I can assure you that Tipping the Velvet was not pitched as "left-field experimental stuff". Yes it was BBC2 but it was the PRIME spot for BBC2 (I think 9:30pm Mondays) and it was pitched as absolute titillation with a veneer of respectability due to being period drama. There was a lot of suggestive publicity involving Hawes and Stirling with "overflowing bosoms" and a push for Stirling in particular just for being Diana Rigg's daughter (not because of Rigg's overall fame and career, but because of her sexy Avengers costuming from 34ish years earlier). The publicity strongly played on "girl on girl action"
Don't confuse Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit with Sarah Waters adaptations from a decade-and-half later. I don't know about Fingersmith, but Tipping the Velvet was adapted by period-drama-perv Andrew Davies. Not seen it but I know his style. It will be a cartoony version of "look! It's NOT all Jane Austen! Bird on bird action!"
To confuse Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit with this more light fare, would be to compare Tarkovsky's adaptation of Stanislaw Lem's Solaris, with Event Horizon.
I don't say this as some elitist statement (I like Event Horizon and would probably enjoy Tipping the Velvet, Fingersmith and Gentleman Jack if I get around to seeing them). I'm just saying the "edge" was eroded a while ago.
Love it when people review stuff they've not actually seen.
> Love it when people review stuff they've not actually seen.
I hardly claimed to be reviewing Tipping the Velvet, but FWIW I have seen plenty of learned reviews that describe it as I describe it above. I was kind of paraphrasing those.
Thanks for your comment though.
Sorry but I took mild exception to:
"...Tipping the Velvet was adapted by period-drama-perv Andrew Davies. Not seen it but I know his style. It will be a cartoony version of "look! It's NOT all Jane Austen! Bird on bird action!"
A scan of Andrew Davies writing history doesn't seem to support your assessment of expectations.
Sure he's been diverse. Maybe I have a skewed perception based on strong memories of critics absolutely pillorying him for overly prurient "sexing up the screen" in such fare as Mother Love (seen, dreadful nonsense), Anglo-Saxon Attitudes, Moll Flanders, Vanity Fair (1998 Natasha Little version, not massively prurient as such but slated for dumbing down and trying to bring Becky's sexual manipulation totally to the fore), Tipping the Velvet and possibly The Line of Beauty. Even his Pride and Prejudice had a few people tutting in the aisles, as it were, before it became such a huge phenomenon.
So OK, I am picking out a small proportion of his body of work. As I say, it's the "outcries" that I recall. Maybe it was all Daily Mail and Mary Whitehouse; this aspect I don't recall.
That is a distraction from my main point that Tipping the Velvet was never sold as "leftfield experimental TV drama", and I don't have to have seen it to remember how it was sold (cover features on all the TV guides, heavy promotion on TV etc). Not exactly John Maybury's Museum of Memory or Peter Greenaway's Dante thing!
All fair enough. I may have been luckier in the shows of his I caught (also as writer it could be said that he much less control over tone and promotion than it might be thought) and that, as a writer, it says more about the number of successes he had that anyone even notices his involvement.
I do remember the fuss over Pride and Prejudice at the time and it really was all Daily Mail making it sound like it had been made into softcore porn (I doubt the BBC discourage this sort of thing as it must do wonders for viewing figures). I agree that Tipping the Velvet was not 'Leftfield' by any current definition but it certainly stood out at the time and in spite of the assumption, that could easily be made, that it was sold on the sex I don't think that was true of the finished product.
Some interesting comments here:
I also heard an extended interview with Sarah Waters on R4 a little while back in which she explained how she came to write the book (rather sweetly out of a desire to write the Victorian novel that spoke to/for her) and how pleased she was with the finished result. (the TV show)
> Some interesting comments here:
Are there three paragraphs absent from the start of this Wikipedia entry?!
> Are there three paragraphs absent from the start of this Wikipedia entry?!
Not that I know of.
> Not that I know of.
Well you wouldn't would you
It does just launch in randomly, expecting the reader to make various connections (and ignoring Portrait of a Marriage).
I find Wikipedia is useful but always treat with a little caution after finding a paragraph of random sweary unpleasantness buried in a description of Charles Dickens life.
> It's brilliant in every respect-script, acting costume etc. It does serve to show, if you're as old as me (late 50's) how things have changed-a mainstream prime time big budget TV show about lesbianism (and other things) even 10 years ago would have seemed pretty out there.
Looks like only you and me saw Gentleman Jack, then.
I’m watching too, will catch up on latest tonight.
As this is a climbing site - i would just mention that i believe that Ann Lister on whom the program is based was the first person to climb Vignemale - a 3000m summit in the high pyrenees - so not only a formidable personality but also an adventurous mountaineer.
> Looks like only you and me saw Gentleman Jack, then.
Caught up last night. Having got used to Netflix it's slightly odd having to wait for the next episode.
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