Twenty years on, 'Brideshead Revisited' is revisited for the cinema
Monday 02 December 2002
Brideshead Revisited, one of the most acclaimed British television drama serials, will be turned into a film, with the ubiquitous Andrew Davies lined up as screenwriter.
The Evelyn Waugh novel, which follows the fortunes of two friends in the hedonistic days of 1920s Oxford University with particular focus on the Catholic family of one, was adapted by Sir John Mortimer in 1981.
It made stars of Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews in a cast that included Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud and Claire Bloom. The novelist Anthony Burgess called it "the best piece of television ever made". Two years ago, programme makers voted it the most popular drama adaptation in television history.
Davies, responsible for the current television adaptations of Daniel Deronda and Dr Zhivago, wants the new version to concentrate more heavily on the religious tensions in Waugh's novel.
Although those tensions were evident in the 1981 adaptation, Mr Davies said at the weekend: "I think that ITV got the wrong emphasis. Of course, it was done very well by ITV. But I'm more interested in the religious side of the book, rather than the Oxford days. In fact, for me Sebastian and his teddy bear were the problem. Yes, the scenes at Oxford were magical and all that, but they were silly, too. The more the book goes on, the more interesting it becomes. It essentially begs the question, 'Is God more important than love?' It's a Catholic novel."
Sir John Mortimer responded: "I was writing it, like Waugh was in 1944, in a very grey and drab period. So, yes, I wanted to bring out the golden age of Oxford in the 1920s. It's the feeling of youth and, yes, the absurdity of youth too, which I wanted to get across."
The film is to be made by the British production company Ecosse Films, which made Mrs Brown, the story of Queen Victoria's friendship with her servant, John Brown, starring Judi Dench and Billy Connolly.
Douglas Rae, who runs Ecosse, said: "Brideshead Revisited is an iconic and classic book. I think that the British excel at period drama pieces. I was one of those people who grew up with the ITV version."
Mr Rae added: "I think that more than 20 years later there's room for a film for a new generation of people who never saw the TV drama, and for that older generation who did watch it, but would welcome a different version."
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Germany sees 'visible rise' in support for far-right extremism in response to perceived 'Islamisation' of the West