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
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
Arts and Entertainment
Kate Bush: 'I'm going to miss everyone so much'
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’


Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'


Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from


Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
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.

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?