A Happy New Year to anyone who stops by to read this blog! I’ve been trying to find out what costume dramas are coming up at the cinema and on TV in the coming year. Here are details of a few I know about, though there are doubtless many more in the pipeline .
Lark Rise to Candleford – A new season of this has already started on BBC1, following on from the Christmas special. Must admit I’m not a big fan of this show, as I find it too sweet and chocolate-boxy – but clearly I’m in the minority, as it gets great ratings. I’m not sure when this will turn up in the US and elsewhere.
The Young Victoria – This feature film is due out in the UK on March 9, with no release dates announced for the rest of the world as yet. Emily Blunt stars as Victoria, with Rupert Friend as Albert, and a fantastic supporting cast including Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent, Paul Bettany, Harriet Walter… and the list goes on. It’s directed by French-Canadian Jean-Marc Vallée – I saw his indie film C.R.A.Z.Y. and remember finding it powerful but harrowing – and the writer is Julian Fellowes of Gosford Park fame. This has to be near the top of my list of films I must see in 2009.
Wuthering Heights – This one is a two-part TV mini-series, due to be shown in the UK in April. It’s directed by Coky Giedroyc, who has directed many TV films including the 2007 series of Oliver Twist and the mini-series The Virgin Queen – plus episodes of the wonderful Blackpool. Writer Peter Bowker also wrote Blackpool – it wasn’t a costume drama but was full of passion, so bodes well for this adaptation of Emily Brontȅ, I’d say. Tom Hardy plays Heathcliff with Charlotte Riley as Cathy – and from a look at the cast list at the imdb it’s apparent that they will be including the second generation, often cut out in previous adaptations. An added attraction for me is that this was filmed at East Riddleston Hall in Yorkshire, an atmospheric National Trust property which I remember visiting many years ago.
Sherlock Holmes – There are not one but two cinema films in production, the eagerly-awaited one starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson, due in cinemas in November, and another – I assume a comedy – starring Sacha Baron Cohen and Will Ferrell. Don’t know when that one is out, though, of the two, I’m much more interested in the Downey version anyway. What’s more, the BBC also has a one-off special TV version of Holmes coming up some time this year, which I suspect could be a pilot for a series. The good news is that this is being masterminded by Stephen Moffat, now at the helm of the hugely popular cult series Doctor Who – but the bad news is that it will bring the pair forward to the modern age, rather than sticking to the dark streets of 1890s London! This version will star Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman of The Office fame as Watson.
Cranford – A two-part TV special will be shown on the BBC next Christmas. I loved the series so look forward to this, although I don’t know from the information at the BBC press office whether it will be based on any of Elizabeth Gaskell’s stories or whether it will have a completely new storyline. I’m hoping there will be some Gaskell content, at least.
Looking further ahead, Andrew Davies has a hand in a new movie version of Middlemarch due for release in 2010, and is also reported to be working on a TV adaptation of Dickens’ Dombey and Son and leading a team of writers for a massive new version of all six novels in Trollope’s series The Pallisers. Sandy Welch is also rumoured to be working on a new TV version of Jane Austen’s Emma.
If you want more, take a look at this list of the best historical dramas of 2008, and coming up in 2009-10, over at the Lights, Cameras, History! blog.