The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik

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June 1, 2011

'Look back, look back at me.'

As part of my Elizabeth Gaskell project, this weekend I finally watched the 2004 (?) BBC production of North & South.  I watch Masterpiece Theater almost religiously, so I'm surprised that I don't remember seeing this one. The adaptation followed the book's major plot points faithfully, but it was a lot sexier.

Some of the characterization (Reverend Hale, Nicholas Higgins, Mrs. Thornton, Edith, Fanny Thornton) followed closely on the book, though other characters (Dixon, Henry Lennox) lost all their color. Some of it seeped into Mr. Bell instead (I think it was those checked trousers...).

For all that they took out, I wish the writers had kept the words that Elizabeth Gaskell gives to Thornton and Margaret in the very last scene. They wouldn't have worked, dramatically, but they were such good lines.

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Claire (The Captive Reader) said...

I really enjoyed the miniseries, until it came to the end. I love the ending as Gaskell wrote it!

Karen K. said...

Haven't seen it but my Jane Austen book group is reading it in July, I could not resist checking out a copy when I was at the library today. I'm trying to hold off watching it until I've finished the book but I'm sure I'll picture the Richard Armitage as I read it.

Anonymous said...

Like you, I watch Masterpiece religiously, and, like you, I somehow missed North & South, pondering, still, how that could have happened. Ah, well, something to look forward to seeing and reading.

I appreciate you accounting for Lady Ludlow in your subsequent post, and have become quite interested in Elizabeth Gaskell thanks to your posts.

Lilacs said...

I love the North and South adaptation but agree the ending in the novel was far superior, Mr Bell was quite a departure from Ms Gaskells, quite camp I thought.

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