The Woman In White is a ghost of some sort, driving people mad, as she scares others, going about her daily business..
Walter Hartright (Ben Hardy) is an artist, or ‘drawing master’ as it says here, and he’s got a new job offer, leaving Walford, London to spend the next two months working for provincial collector Mr Fairlie (Charles Dance) in the country at Limmeridge House, restoring a portfolio of drawings, whilst educating the man’s two nieces. Whilst there, he’ll miss out on all of London’s technological innovations such as the stereoscope, an early incarnation of the Playstation PSVR.
Setting off on his journey, he bumps into a woman dressed in white, but you do have to ask – why the hell is he taking his trip in the middle of the night? Why not get wait until it’s light, and get a full night’s sleep in the process?!
All of this happens in flashback, relating to one year earlier, with scenes in the present day between Mr Fairlie being questioned by Erasmus Nash (Art Malik) about the ‘terrible events’ that happened, thus letting you know that the youknowwhat’s going to hit the fan, but how, when and why?
Meanwhile, Laura received a letter from someone pouring scorn relating to her forthcoming nuptials with Sir Percival Glyde (Dougray Scott), who’s meant to be 45, but Scott is 52, but who did this? No doubt that question will be answered in a future episode.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of period dramas, but there was still good chemistry between Hardy and Vinall in her guise of Laura, and who also took the role of Anne Catherick, the titular woman, whose full story has yet to be told.
The Woman In White wasn’t available for previews. That often does not bode well, but for the first episode, we had a reasonably well-paced first hour – the first of five parts, airing in weekly installments – although it did falter a bit in the last third. I think I’ll at least give it a second hour to see how the supernatural angle plays out, but I do want to see an improvement.
The Woman In White continues next Sunday on BBC1 at 9pm, and is available to pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD, ahead of its release on May 21st. After broadcast, you can watch each episode on BBC iPlayer for 30 days after transmission.
Episode 1 Score: 5/10
Director: Carl Tibbetts
Producer: Sarah Curtis
Writer: Fiona Seres (based on the novel by Wilkie Collins)
Marian Halcombe: Jessie Buckley
Walter Hartright: Ben Hardy
Laura Fairlie: Olivia Vinall
Anne Catherick: Olivia Vinall
Erasmus Nash: Art Malik
Mrs Vesey: Joanna Scanlan
Pesca: Ivan Kaye
Mrs Clements: Ruth Sheen
Sir Percival Glyde: Dougray Scott
Mr Fairlie: Charles Dance
Fanny: Clare McMahon
Louis: James Flynn
Mrs Hartright: Cathy Belton
Jacob: Jesse Magee
Boy: Matthew Lawson
Proprietor: Frankie McCafferty
Robert: Cole Curran
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.