Last summer we wrote to give you a heads-up about the new 5-part miniseries of Parade’s End. Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock), Rebecca Hall (Frost/Nixon), Adelaide Clemens (The Great Gatsby, 2013) and Roger Allam (Endeavour) star in this portrait of English society in the years up to during World War I.
Tom Stoppard (Anna Karenina, 2012) has made brilliant narrative sense of the four novels by Ford Madox Ford. The novelist hailed from London’s Bloomsbury group and practiced a stream-of-consciousness approach that valued psychological insight more than getting on with the story. But the insights are well worth the 900-page (or five-hour) journey.
Now the Parade’s End premiere is nearly at hand. HBO will air the series from Tuesday through Thursday next week. Parts 1 and 2 will premiere at 9pm ET on February 26, with Parts 3 and 4 following in the same time slot on February 27 and Part 5 on February 28. DVD and Blu-ray release dates have not been announced.
Looking back into the BBC Archive, we found a 1964 adaptation of Parade’s End in which Judi Dench plays suffragette/pacifist Valentine Wannop opposite Ronald Hines (Middlemarch) as Tietjens. We haven’t been able to screen this 3-part version yet, but we are convinced that Valentine was a role Judi Dench was born to play. Pictured here is an unforgettable scene that revolves around a telephone call Valentine receives on Armistice Day. Parade’s End (1964) will be available April 16th on DVD and may be pre-ordered now.
To those who are missing Dan Stevens: Besides revisiting happier moments in past seasons of Downton Abbey, may we recommend the BBC’s 2008 version of Sense & Sensibility? Stevens imbues the too-good-to-be-true vicar Edward Ferrars with a trustworthiness that Hugh Grant couldn’t quite deliver in the movie version.
To those who are missing Richard Briers even more: We are saddened to learn of the death at age 79 of this legendary Britcom actor last Sunday, February 17th. Most famous as the exasperating but lovable Tom Good in Good Neighbors, he went on to appear in many of Kenneth Branagh’s films, including a fine turn as Polonius in Hamlet. Monarch of the Glen fans will remember Briers as Hector MacDonald. He left that series after three seasons to take it easier, but remained a willing guest star in television series ranging from Kingdom and Marple to New Tricks, even Torchwood. One particularly memorable guest performance was as Sir Clixby Bream in Inspector Morse: “Death Is Now My Neighbour.” We will miss him.