The Pursuit Of Love is a new three-parter staring Lily James (Baby Driver), and rather a change of pace after seven weeks of Line of Duty, and discovering who H is… or clearly wasn’t, if you engage brain and stop complaining about being disappointed with the outcome because you didn’t understand it…
Anyhoo, after a brief scene during World War II, where a heavily pregnant Linda (Ms James) finds her house has just been bombed in the Blitz, events go back to the early ’20s, as Fanny (Emily Beecham) narrates the story, telling us of the wonderful times she spent during the winters at Alconleigh, with the one Fanny remembers most is when Linda turned 17 and started to find love…
…although it rather looks more like lust, as she becomes infatuated with Lord Merlin (Andrew Scott) because he’s quite gregarious, compared to everyone else being a stuffy old fart. Same goes for Tony Kroesig (Freddie Fox), but then you feel she’d fall for any man with a pulse.
Other characters include Linda’s uncle, Matthew (Dominic West), who hates everything and everyone – except his dogs, while Louisa (Beattie Edmondson) has just turned 18 and has her coming out party soon, as well as being about to get married to a middle-aged man.
As for Fanny, her mother (portrayed by director/screenwriter Emily Mortimer) gave her up as a baby and ran off with ther men, giving her the nickname, The Bolter, leading to a very unhappy childhood.
So, that’s the basic premise out of the way, and if you like period dramas which have a playful tone to them, then you may well enjoy this, but I couldn’t really get a handle on it, as it doesn’t really stand out for me. It’s a curiosity for me, but not much else at this point. Maybe it’ll come together in the other episodes? After episode one has been broadcast, all three will be up on the BBC iPlayer, so I might wait until then to catch the other two, as then I’ll be able to watch them with subtitles, since there’s a fair bit of fast-talking.
Also, this must be the only period drama where two women briefly share a bath, and the camera JUST covers up the sight of their nipples, because seeing a woman’s nipples after the watershed would have the whole country in apoplexy, surely, even though it’s usually okay to see those of men, and at any time of day.
On a more positive note, despite the early 1920s setting, music includes New Order‘s Ceremony, along with more modern tracks like Le Tigre‘s Deceptacon.
After episode one’s broadcast, the entire series will be on the BBC iPlayer.
Episode 1 Score: 4/10
Director: Emily Mortimer
Producers: Rhonda Smith, Charles Collier, Matthew Read, Frith Tiplady
Screenplay: Emily Mortimer
Novel: Nancy Mitford
Fanny Logan: Emily Beecham
Linda Radlett: Lily James
Louisa Radlett: Beattie Edmondson
The Bolter: Emily Mortimer
Lord Merlin: Andrew Scott
Sadie Radlett: Dolly Wells
Matthew Radlett: Dominic West
Fabrice de Sauveterre: Assaad Bouab
Tony Kroesig: Freddie Fox
Alfred Wincham: Shazad Latif
Langstone Hughes: Aki Omoshaybi
Jassy Radlett: Martha West
Young Fanny (aged 8-12): Georgina Morgan
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.