Television review

So that's it, then: Sunday nights in for the foreseeable future. Pride And Prejudice (BBC1, Sunday) was, as they say, as agreeable a manner in which to pass 55 minutes as can be imagined, at least in polite society.

The joy began from the opening shot, Mr Bingley galloping across the countryside with Darcy in tow and spotting Netherfield peeping through the woodland. "It is nothing to Pembury," he says as the pair of them take in the imposing vastness of the house before them. "But one must settle somewhere." In the past you may not have remembered anyone galloping around in Jane Austen television adaptations. Generally (Nick Dear's brilliant recent Persuasion apart) they were static, dull, crusty affairs, more interested in the costume than the drama. If you'd never read one of her books, you'd think it was no wonder Jane took sick: it must have been a lot more interesting being in bed than hanging around in that environment.

Andrew Davies's take on Pride and Prejudice has changed all that, injecting into the proceedings a pace and energy which at last provides a visual setting to do justice to the wit of the book. With everyone slinging themselves about at high speed (the dances, in a first for the genre, actually involve a bit of sweat), it looks like people are doing something you would never have suspected they did in Austen's time: having fun.

And, since they are having fun, you can see how funny it all was. When Mr Bennet, for instance, announces at the lunch-table, "Our lives hold few distinctions, Mrs Bennet, but I think we can safely assert here sit two of the silliest girls in the country," you laugh out loud - because his two daughters, instead of sitting there like porcelain figures, have already established their silly credentials by endless horsing around.

Everywhere you looked in this production there were such pleasures: Alison Steadman on Abigail's Party levels of insufferability as Mrs Bennet; Benjamin Withrow with a fist of Oscar Wilde put-downs as her husband; Anna Chancellor sneering at everyone as Miss Bingley. And Mr Collins and Lady Catherine de Bourgh have yet to make an appearance. What bliss in store.

These days there is slightly less involved in courtship than hours spent gazing across parlours, reading and re-reading signals like love Kremlinologists. According to Loved Up (BBC2, Saturday), all you do now is slip her an E and get nodding. Despite the film's hitherto unexplored dramatic territory (raving), this was a conventional story about young men failing to face up to reality and emotional responsibility. Sarah (Lena Headley), seeking escape from her ghastly home life, sought refuge in the arms of Tom (Ian Hart), a lad who seems to agree so whole-heartedly with Sir William Lucas's observation in Pride and Prejudice - "dancing, what a charming amusement for young people" - that he spends every night down the rave.

I'm not sure if we were meant to, but as the plot unfolded, I found myself sympathising not with the problem-laden, reality-facing Sarah, but with the perpetually out-of-it Tom. There was something heroic about his philosophy of rigorously avoiding the troughs of life and aiming for an existence of continual peaks, an update of Spinal Tap's Viv Savage, and his "have a good time all the time" theory of life.

Besides, it would have been a hard heart indeed which didn't warm to Tom and his mates, as, in the midst of a trip off to planet love, they find a post bag in the street and decide to deliver the letters themselves. But only after they have censored them. "I've got some bills, man. I don't want to be delivering any bad news," said one of the boys, chucking a load of envelopes out of the car window. Sadly, my postman appears not to be a raver.

Thomas Sutcliffe returns tomorrow

Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
The Baker (James Corden) struggles with Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood

film...all the better to bamboozle us
Arts and Entertainment
English: Romantic Landscape

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump


Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas