I’ve also posted this at Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood, so if you subscribe to both blogs I apologize for the repetition!
Photo above from Desperate Romantics. I don't know if the woman is intended to be Lizzie Siddal. I don't see Lizzie ever striking such a pose!
I am incredibly curious about the new BBC production of Desperate Romantics. Being in the United States, I won’t be able to see the program until it airs here. I still have not read Franny Moyle’s book, which the program is based on, but from reviews I’ve read it seems to be a very sensationalized account of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Do I sound like a ninny when I say I’m nervous about the whole thing? I want it to be good and entertaining, but I feel very protective towards the Pre-Raphs, especially Lizzie Siddal.
The Beautiful Necessity has some good posts:
Three images from the miniseries: I’ve shared one image above. Grace’s post has generated a good discussion, so read the comments and join in! I have to disclose that I have some qualms about this miniseries. I’m trying hard to reserve judgement until I see it, but I’ve been told about numerous innaccuracies!
Radio interview discussing the miniseries: Again, I found this via The Beautiful Necessity. I’m glad that the guest, described as a Victorian art expert, pointed out some areas where this program takes dramatic license instead of portraying Desperate Romantics as a factual aproach.
Via The Earthly Paradise (another blog I love) a post about an interview featuring Samuel Barnett, who plays Millais. I share Margaret’s view: “Although I’m a little disappointed that the BBC feels it’s necessary to portray the Pre-Raphaelites as prototypes for modern models and rock stars, I suppose it makes it makes sense from a marketing perspective.” (Margaret Lozano, theearthlyparadise.com)
The forum at ArtMagick.com has this post with links to a few interviews with the actors. And I hope that the poster StB will not mind that I have quoted him or her, but I loved their comment! “I watched a preview of the first episode last night – for anybody expecting an accurate account of the early adventures of the members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, this is not for you, but as a light-hearted fictional costume drama it is most entertaining. Rather a lot of gratuitous nudity, though – just about the only female character who keeps her clothes on in the first episode is Elizabeth Siddal’s mother!” (StB, ArtMagick.com discussion)
I loved this review in The Guardian, which describes Desperate Romantics as “an explosively bawdy addition to the “vaguely historically accurate costume drama” stable”. My favorite? This hilarious sentence: “The group is led by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Being Human’s Aidan Turner) a priapic hedonist so lycanthropic he looks as if he’s about to collapse to his haunches and start howling.”
At Culture and Anarchy, Serena Trowbridge shares her impressions of the Desperate Romantics preview and a discussion afterwards with the cast and writers. While she mentions a few points that I have been worried about, such as historical inaccuracies, she made me feel a bit better about the whole thing. I think that there were certain choices made about this program that were intended to reach a broader audience than just people who already have a love for all things Pre-Raphaelite. I know I’m not going to be thrilled with these changes, but I am going to try my best to enjoy the program. But, alas, I know myself too well. I’m going to be just as bothered as I was this past Sunday when I saw an episode of Marple on Masterpiece Theater. In all their television-producing wisdom, the powers that be decided not to appeal to Christie fans and opted to rewrite the book, adding characters and changing motives (complete with rape and incest, which Christie would have never written about).
Oh, dear. This one doesn’t sound good. TV Scoop says “Everything, from the bouncy, off-beat opening credits, to the almost modern-day feel to the dialogue, makes it out to be more like a comedy. In fact, seeing a larger-than-life version of Charles Dickens and all the mucking about, it’s almost like a period version of Men Behaving Badly.”
UPDATE: We’ve discussed Desperate Romantics a bit at the Facebook page for PreRaphaeliteSisterhood.com. Join in! If you’re not already, I’d be honored if you became a fan and jumped into the discussion!