Picnic At Hanging Rock Episode 1 – The DVDfever Review – Natalie Dormer

Picnic At Hanging Rock
Picnic At Hanging Rock has made the transition from a novel and movie to a six-part series, co-funded by Amazon Studios, with Game Of Thrones and The Hunger Games‘ Natalie Dormer as the overly strict Mrs Appleyard, who buys a large mansion out in the Australian bush and labels it Appleyard College, where many young girls come to stay for a number of years.

I’ve never read the novel, nor seen the movie, so I’m flying blind a bit, and with a story that’s stretching out over six episodes, you can’t base an entire opinion over one-sixth of a movie, nor fully understand what’s going on, since while the lady speaks in fairly posh tones, she also has a Cockney voiceover, so I’m getting a feeling that’s a split personality.

As good an actress as Ms Dormer is, especially in this lead role, the opening, basic period drama section feels no different from any other period drama and was boring me senseless, but about two-fifths in, and we get to Valentine’s Day 1900, the day on which the girls disappeared. The pace peps up from this point onwards, and it starts to head into psychological thriller territory which is what I’d come to see.

Of course, each Valentine’s Day, the postman struggles to walk in a straight line because they’re overladen with heavy bags of cards for me, and I have to employ a butler simply to open them all. Not all the girls are so lucky, since Edith received none, even though 100+ years on, redheads are now considered hot.

For this first episode, Picnic at Hanging Rock has some definite intrigue in it, and I will stick with it, but this is just the set-up, and at if you’ve still to catch up with the first episode, while naturally, I’d give no spoilers about it, I think even if I described the episode in full detail, you would be as similarly perplexed as I am.

All six episodes have aired on the Foxtel Network in Australia as they were released at the same time, on May 6th, but they’re airing weekly on BBC2. It would’ve been better if the full boxset was made available on BBC iPlayer. Either way, note that the episodes are all approximately just slightly either side of 50 minutes in length, so don’t panic and think the BBC have cut something when you’re expecting a full hour’s of drama.

Picnic At Hanging Rock continues next Wednesday on BBC2 at 9pm, and is available to pre-order on DVD – ahead of its release on August 20th, and you can watch each episode on BBC iPlayer for 30 days after transmission.

Picnic At Hanging Rock – Series Trailer – BBC Two

Episode 1 Score: 6/10

Series Directors: Larysa Kondracki, Michael Rymer, Amanda Brotchie
Series Writers: Beatrix Christian and Alice Addison (based on the novel by Joan Lindsay)

Mrs. Appleyard: Natalie Dormer
Miranda Reid: Lily Sullivan
Mademoiselle Dianne de Poitiers: Lola Bessis
Michael Fitzhubert: Harrison Gilbertson
Irma Leopold: Samara Weaving
Marion Quade: Madeleine Madden
Sara Waybourne: Inez Currõ
Edith: Ruby Rees
Dora Lumley: Yael Stone
Arthur: Philip Quast
Tomasetti: Marcus Graham
Albert Crundall: James Hoare
Tom: Mark Coles Smith
Dr. Mackenzie: Don Hany
Miss Greta McCraw: Anna McGahan
Minnie: Emily Gruhl
Colonel Fitzhubert: Nicholas Hope