Even Buccaneers get the blues

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The Independent Culture
Bosoms will be heaving sighs up and down the country as The Buccaneers (9.05pm BBC1) reaches its bodice-ripping conclusion tonight. Meanwhile, word processors will throb as irate journalists complain about this innocuous bit of soft-core costume drama.

Because The Buccaneers lacked the grime and earnest screenplay found in the Dickens-by-numbers school of literary adaptation, many think that the BBC has betrayed their trust. And Edith, poor Edith who has been violated by the kinky minds of her adapters. Penguin must have grown fat on sales to pundits keen to worship at the shrine of a novelist no one had heard of until Virago exhumed her mildly diverting tales of low morals in high life.

What is the problem? British manufacturers are always criticised for not producing high quality exportable goods. This, surely, is the perfect export; to complain about its philosophy is a little bit like berating the British rag trade for making nice kilts.

What's more, its appeal isn't just to the foreigner Anglophiles. Millions can find nothing better to do of a Sunday evening than take a heritage tour with these large-breasted lovelies.

Tonight, those keen to over-indulge will no doubt also be watching On the Set of The Buccaneers (4.30pm BBC1), which gives the bottom of the barrel one last lingering lick.