Monday 1 December 2008

I'm in love.

Yes, I'm in love. With a DVD. With, to be precise, Lost in Austen. I know, I know, I went on and on about how good this programme is back here, but that was when I'd only seen one episode... The Carbon Copy bought me the DVD for my birthday, I've watched it all again, and am having to be very stern with myself to restrain from watching it all over again straight away.

What's not to love? Amanda Price, Pride and Prejudice addict, accidentally swaps places with Elizabeth Bennett. She has to try to keep the novel on course, coping with the differences caused by her presence, Lizzie's absence, and some rather unexpected undercurrents to Jane Austen's novel... and at the same time, of course, gets rather smitten with Mr. Darcy. It's messing with Austen so I should hate it. But obviously I don't. My utter delight in this TV series has dislodged prose-writing ability from my brain, and so I'll give you some bullet points as to why Lost in Austen ought to be bought by you IMMEDIATELY. If it's not available in the US and elsewhere, start a petition today.

  • It's Jane Austen - which is an exceptionally good starting point
  • With 21st Century life - so no forgetting-to-entertain-the-audience-because-we're-fastening-our-bonnets
  • And Jemima Rooper - the lass playing Amanda Price is quite astonishingly likable, and not just because she was in the Famous Five
  • She's also a very funny actress
  • A Real Person (just like you and me) gets to go to Longbourn. And Rosings. And Pemberley. It could happen to us...
  • I would just say 'Downtown', but the clip wasn't on the DVD, for copyright reasons... thankfully YouTube has it, so click here.
  • There are so many treats for Austen fans. Look out for Amanda quoting Emma, and probably lots of others, and...
  • ... yes, there is *that* lake scene. The women reading will be wondering, I'm sure... and Amanda uses the word 'postmodern' to describe it, so you can all feel worthy and intellectual while pressing 'rewind' and 'pause' a lot.
  • Hugh Bonneville as Mr. Bennett. And his wonderful lines: "I must beg to be excused. Large gatherings of society make me break out in hives. As do small gatherings."; "Mrs. Bennett and Lydia are currently in society. Society has enough to be getting on with." And so many more.
  • The best insult ever: "Damn you, Darcy, and damn every man who doesn't stay up all night with a candle in his window daming you!"
  • What happens if Mr. Bingley gets a crush on Amanda, instead of Jane? Think about it... think about it... who comes to visit and is put off marrying Jane because her mother suspects she will soon be, as it were, otherwise engaged?
  • And wait 'til you hear Caroline Bingley's secret
  • The adorable Perdita Weeks as Lydia - sister of equally adorable Honeysuckle Weeks. Yes, those are their real names.
  • A genuinely moving romance. Should Darcy end up with Lizzie (as we've all been brought up to want) or new girl Amanda (whom we also now adore)? I lost sleep over this one.
  • The DVD has an excellent 'Making of...' feature, a whole hour of interesting interviews and soundbites from actors, producers, designers, cameramen, makeup artists... no writer interview, oddly... my favourite being the man painting the fence: "I don't even know who's in it. One of the other lads might be able to tell you that."
  • Oh, it's all just delicious, silly, wonderful, delightful, intelligent fun - a hundred times better if you, like Amanda, like me, adore Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice. So perfect I want to have it on loop for the rest of the month, pausing only to watch Pride and Prejudice itself.


  1. I couldn't agree more!

  2. Love it too!

    However, I did make an arse out of myself on Friday because of it. Went to see Kenneth Branagh in Ivanov, and it had someone from 'Miss Austen Regrets' in it. And I misread the credit, so when he came out of the stage door said 'i loved you in Lost in Austen' and waxed lyrical about the damn you Darcy line. He was very nice though, said thank you and didn't tell me where I'd gone wrong!

  3. I loved this so much! I almost never buy full-price DVDs but I think I may have to make an exception here.

  4. I agree completely. It was the best thing on television this year.

  5. Glad to see agreement - though how embarrassing for you, Becca! I believe another Jane Austen related actor was in Ivanov - Lucy Briers from 1995 P&P?

  6. Yup! And she was quite good. Strange to hear her voice without a sermon attached really!

  7. Am I the only person who thought it was rubbish? It wasn't funny enough to be a comedy (and certainly not worthy of the Austen wit), and otherwise resembled a bad Mills and Boon trying to be clever chick-lit and failing miserably. The dialogue was painful, the story contrived and the acting caricature-ish.
    I think it was a good idea that got passed on to TV idiots to write.

    But I did watch the whole thing, obviously. (It had 'Austen' in the title.)

  8. It's on my Christmas list. I adored it. So deliciously written and acted and, thankfully, not at all pretentious about preserving 100% internal logic. Vastly superior to the recent spate of tedious 'serious' Austen spin-offs simply because it set out to be a delightful caper for Austen fans and succeeeded brilliantly. I can't wait to watch it again. Agree entirely with your top moments. What a shame they have deleted Down Town, though. Thanks for the youtube link!

  9. Deleted Downtown!!!! Why?? I hve this DVD but have yet to watch it again, am saving up for my long Christmas break when the TV will be awful and I will be at home a lot all by msyelf and am looking forward to lots of reading and watching what I want. I loved this series, simply loved it and thought that if they ever remake P&P then Hugh Bonneville must be Mr Bennett, he was wonderful

  10. I do think that lake scene was perhaps the best joke on TV this year. So good. I was so disposed not to like this series and to be all superciliar and scathing and yet it won me over. Just perfect.

    I am slightly fearful about the genre this may spawn, however.

  11. I (eventually!) watched this at the weekend as I missed it when it was on TV and wanted to see what I'd been missing. What fun! The lake scene Ros mentioned made me cackle with glee. Fabulous stuff and I really enjoyed it!

  12. This is great! I'm going to watch this right away.


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