Brideshead Revisited….literally

In 1981 Brideshead Revisited was shown on TV and gripped a nation, to the 11 year old me it was a stuffy, old fashioned series staring little known actors running around with teddy bears, dressed as toffs. Anyhow I was far more interested in proper drama like Dallas and Dynasty.

Roll on 30 odd years and as I was looking for a classic to take on holiday I decided it was time to try an Evelyn Waugh. I skirted around Brideshead Revisited in the bookshop a few times but couldn’t get excited about anything else. I decided it was time to undig my heels and see what all the fuss was about.

And what is all the fuss about? Brideshead is a story narrated by one man telling of his time between the wars when he becomes involved with the Flyte family who live in a stately home called Brideshead. It’s the story of family, relationships and love, the decline of these huge family seats post first world war and more subtly it is a book about religion. In parts it’s nostalgic and funny and in others desperately sad but always gripping. It was read from cover to cover in 3 days, always a good sign.

On the back of my love of the book I went back and watched the truly excellent original series (Sky, On demand). Listed by The Telegraph as number 1 on their list of the greatest TV adaptations of all time. And those little known actors, apart from Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews only Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir John Gielgud.


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