The Crimson Petal and the White – spoiler alert for US

17 Apr

Image courtesy of Romaryka under Flickr Creative Commons license

Have any other UK period fans been watching the BBC’s adaptation of The Crimson Petal and the White? What are your thoughts?

Adapted from Michael Faber’s book (which I haven’t read, but intend to), two of the four episodes have been broadcast and I’m…well, ambivalent to say the least.

True, it’s not the most serene and ‘pretty’ of period dramas – prositution in Victorian London is shown in all it’s pustulent glory – and it’s hardly an Austenesque tale of courtship. It’s not these elements that I’m having trouble with.

Nor can I critique the excellent acting (Romola Garai plays a wonderfully dead-eyed Sugar, Chris O’ Dowd breaks his I.T. Crowd shackles and Gillian Anderson is as magnificent as ever) or high production values. The problem is that I just don’t care what happens.

Let me be clear. The character are rounded in that there are no heroes or villains – which I believe to be a good thing. However, if I’m meant to invest four hours of my time in a drama, I should feel encouraged to keep watching. And I don’t. As I mentioned earlier, I would like to read the book – firstly because I believe the book is always better than the adaptation – but also because I want to know if it the dramatisation or the story that is lacklustre.

You can learn more about the programme here.

Have you watched or read it? What are your thoughts? Should I persevere?

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3 Responses to “The Crimson Petal and the White – spoiler alert for US”

  1. matthull87 April 17, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    I have to say that I’m really enjoying it so far, it does meander directionlessly but . and it is very handsome-looking

  2. matthull87 April 17, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    I have to say that I’m really enjoying it so far, it does meander aimlessly but I find it really compelling and it is very handsome-looking. It has some of the grubby victoriana of From Hell (the graphic novel not the appalling 2001 film) which I absolutely love.

    I also haven’t read the book but Faber’s first book, Under the Skin, was absolutely barmy but really fantastic. That didn’t really seem to go anywhere in particular though so I wouldn’t be surprised if the lack of direction has been carried over from the source material.

    • Helen Stuart April 17, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

      Fair enough. I must say (something I didn’t include in my post) – I do enjoy the visuals a lot. It just falls a bit flat for me. That being said, most people tend to be enjoying it, so maybe it’s just me.

      Thanks for commenting!

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