Lady Chatterley’s Lover is the tale of this woman… Lady Chatterley is her name. She’s played by Holliday Grainger and she’s got this lover, and, erm… they get up to rumpy pumpy, except when it’s on BBC1 post-a load of its problems.
Hubby Sir Clifford Chatterley (James Norton) came back from World War I in a paralysed state, which was oddly news to the Lady when he finally made it home, despite all of the staff appearing to be aware of it. Why wouldn’t they let her know also? I get that he couldn’t send her a quick text – “A shell came my way, knocked me to the floor and then I can’t use my legs… LOL!” – but she was left looking a prize bellend as everyone else knew at the pivotal moment, while she didn’t know where to look.
Written and directed by Jed Mecurio, he has normally been relied upon over the years with programmes like Cardiac Arrest, Bodies and the ongoing success of the superb Line Of Duty with more twists and turns than a twisty-turny thing, but then I tried watching the recent Sky 1 series Critical, and that felt surprisingly pedestrian. I bailed after two episodes, and Sky also did by the end of the series.
So, to Lady Chatterley’s Lover, I don’t normally go for period dramas, but given that this is considered a classic I thought I’d give it a try. I remember a version many moons ago, back in 1993 – yes, I was amazed it’s been 22 years since Sean flicked Joely’s bean, but there have been other adaptations along the way. Anyhoo, that mini-series was played out over 4 episodes. I didn’t watch it as I was too young to care about such dramas. However, this was a short ninety minutes so, by comparison, it was a quickie.
Apparently the original and full story is quite a complex one, whereas this one was anything but. It was almost half over before any “how’s your father” began, and even then it was in slo-mo with the only nipples on display coming from Richard Madden, as able handyman Mellors. The sex was more santised than a hand santiser production company taking all its bottles out and drinking them to burn out their own insides!
Madden must’ve been completely beside himself wondering what on earth was going on, since he’s been in the blood and lust saga Game Of Thrones!
I know the BBC are facing cutbacks, but in chopping out the saucy parts of this storyline, it’s akin to when they gave us the tale of Noah just before Easter with The Ark. What’s the one thing they skimped on? The flood! As Ripley says early on in Aliens, “Did IQs drop sharply while I was away?!” She was clearly talking to the BBC board of drama commissioning!
On the plus side, as with The Scandalous Lady W, Elizabeth Rider was in this, as Mrs Betts. I thought – “Yay, it’s DCI bloody Driver from Doctors!”
On the downside, we had Lady Chatterley’s Lover with no explicit sex, no strong language, no strong acting, and nothing of interest. How did you manage it, BBC?!
It’s like when 20th Century Fox censored the fifth Die Hard film down to a 12-certificate for the cinema! I almost expected the same certificate here, but the DVD has a ’15’ emblazoned on the cover.
And when Madden came out with the broad “I went down t’pit at 12!”, it sounded more like Monty’s Python’s Four Yorkshiremen sketch. Luxury!
Director: Jed Mercurio
Producer: Serena Cullen
Screenplay: Jed Mercurio (based on the novel by DH Lawrence)
Music: Carly Paradis
Lady Constance Chatterley: Holliday Grainger
Oliver Mellors: Richard Madden
Sir Clifford Chatterley: James Norton
Ivy Bolton: Jodie Comer
Duncan Forbes: Edward Holcroft
Hilda Reid: Eve Ponsonby
Betts: Howard Ward
Mrs Betts: Elizabeth Rider
Field: Tony Pritchard
Harry Dale: Ian Peck
Victor Linley: Enzo Cilenti
Reverend Massey: Sebastian Gray
Ted Bolton: Chris Morrison
Bertha Coutts: Katy Kenyon
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.