The BBC in its infinite wisdom are repeating Elizabeth R, the famous dramatisation with Glenda Jackson in the title role. I love Glenda Jackson; she will live forever in my memory not only as Elizabeth I, but also Gudrun Brangwen in Ken Russell’s Women in Love where she plays opposite Oliver Reed and more recently as a woman with dementia in Elizabeth is Missing. I thought the BBC were repeating Elizabeth R because I heard that Jackson was set to reprise the role, but I can’t find any reference to this so maybe I imagined it – however I tuned in (as the quaint phrase has it) wondering if the 1971 series would seem slow and pedestrian. It really didn’t. Jackson is really superb and the action is thrilling.
I really think the BBC are missing a trick here. They have a massive back catalogue and I know much of it is available on DVD and other platforms but surely they could take advantage of lockdown by revisiting some of it? We could have ’70’s sitcom night or Play for Today week. We could have programmes placing classics side by side with modern equivalents – like Mike Yarwood compared to Rory Bremner, for example, or Morecambe and Wise put next to Fry and Laurie. And I’d love to see some of the Dennis Potter plays again. Instead of all this we get endless reality shows – celebrity this that and the other, which do not interest me But At All.*
In other news, my Proust has just arrived (that was quick) and I have dived straight in once more to Swann’s Way. Deep joy. In between all these activities I am listening to this recording of Beowulf in the original. Have a listen – it’s very epic.
*in fairness I should point out that there’s a Victoria Wood evening coming up either tonight or tomorrow, so that should be good.