Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Hazelblackberry: Sugar mama

Dear Nick,

I do enjoy a costume drama.  Especially when combined with a dastardly murder mystery that has really ruffled the feathers of some Pommy toffs.  So I was a little disappointed on Sunday night when Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot finished up on the ABC.  Then my spirits soared when I saw that it was being replaced by a repeat of Pride and Prejudice with Jennifer Ehle, all curls and bonnets, and Colin Firth in strangely reassuring flat-fronted pants.

I don't like to be overwhelmed with contours.

I know it's said all the time, but it really is so important to get the look right when a book is being made into a show.   Think of all those mad fans out there tuning-in in droves  to see if the hero and heroine look like they should.   The fans can't exactly describe what the characters should look like themselves, but they know which look Just Isn't Right.  If things aren't just so, many an Angry from Mayfair letter will be written to the local TV Guide - like THEY had anything to do with the casting. 

I felt such a mixed sense of anticipation and anxiety when 'Anne of Green Gables' was made into a mini-series.  Anne had to start out as a slightly scruffy, freckle-faced red-haired kid who smashes a slate over Gilbert Blythe's head (such spirit! such FIRE!) and then blossoms into a graceful, attractive, and at times beautiful, woman who comes to realise she loves the very same Gilbert Blythe when he lies hovering close to death.

Isn't it always the way?  Whenever Grumpy looks at me he thanks his lucky stars for spinal meningitis.

Anne also rather cruelly crushed underfoot a sweet from Gilbert when he was trying to make up with her.  It was one of those flat, round lollies with a love heart on them and a message inside.  Wittily enough, they're called Sweet Hearts.  I bought a packet the other day and was sitting at my desk unwrapping each one and enjoying the messages on them. 

What a long, strange trip it was.  It all started out innocently enough with the usual messages of 'Say yes', 'My hero', 'Dear one', 'Dream girl' and 'You're fab'.  I sensed there was a commitment-shy type lurking in the pack with 'Good pals', and that I had stumbled on a moment of frostiness, anger even, with 'Grow up'.  I was a little confused that this message was written inside a heart.  Tough love from a sweet?  Things got a little more adult with the inclusion of 'My woman', and then the next two pronounced the receiver to have 'True lips' (from Amsterdam? eh?) and, bizarrely enough, 'Glad eye'.  However, I knew I had got down to the behind-closed-doors end of the packet with the final pieces. 'My wee girl' could be innocent enough but given that it was followed immediately by 'Web site' I had the uneasy feeling I'd blundered my way into a special-interests area and got out of there fast.

As it turned out, I was pretty satisfied with the girl they picked to play Anne.  But the guy they picked to play Gilbert was all wrong.  Too pudgy.  A young man needs to have something lean and muscled about him to take a blackboard to the sconce and grow up to become a doctor who is his wife's rock when he delivers their first child stillborn.  I just didn't think old Fatty Fatty Boomsticks had what it took.

Until next time, Nick.

 hb





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