Theatre: No Sex Please, We're High-Brow Literature ; Andrew Davies' Latest Adaptation Is Upsetting the Purists. Nothing New, Says James Rampton Finds Him in Asuasyauys Duays Duays D Asthis

By Rampton, James | The Independent (London, England), November 19, 2000 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Theatre: No Sex Please, We're High-Brow Literature ; Andrew Davies' Latest Adaptation Is Upsetting the Purists. Nothing New, Says James Rampton Finds Him in Asuasyauys Duays Duays D Asthis


Rampton, James, The Independent (London, England)


When Patrick Standish (Rupert Graves) is first introduced to the gorgeous Jenny Bunn (Sienna Guillory) in the new BBC1 drama, Take A Girl Like You, he says "Hello" with the sort of "Phwhoar" insinuation that Leslie Phillips would be proud of. This is a man who could philander for Britain. His questionable attitudes lie at the heart of Andrew Davies's adaptation of the 1960 Kingsley Amis novel, and Patrick's predatory approach to women may well put feminist backs up. But Davies is accustomed by now to donning a tin hat to protect himself.

Despite being the acknowledged master of the literary adaptation, responsible for such screenplays as Pride and Prejudice, Middlemarch and Wives and Daughters, he has copped his fair share of flak over the years - invariably on the subject of sex. He was lambasted for turning Becky Sharp into a kind of ball-breaking, Nineties girl- power icon in his provocative reading of Vanity Fair (BBC1), and excoriated for dreaming up what many regarded as a gratuitous lesbian encounter in his version of Moll Flanders for ITV. "That was terrible," groans John Mullan, who teaches English Literature at University College, London. "In the book, there's no sex at all. When Moll does go to bed with a man, she says things like: `And so the reader will be as ashamed as I am that my virtue then relented.' It's just cheating to show sex scenes. Davies did a milder version of what Playboy would have done with Moll Flanders."

Davies has now waded into a fresh row over his sexually-charged interpretation of Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now, due to be broadcast by the BBC next year. His suggestion that Felix gives Ruby Ruggles "a good seeing- to" has the Trollope Society, among others, up in arms. Meeting Davies in person, it is hard to see what all the fuss is about. He is sweet reason personified, an amiable man with a shock of white hair who might pass as your twinkly great uncle. He sees the spat over The Way We Live Now as a storm in a teacup. "Didn't people have sex then?", he asks, looking as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Theatre: No Sex Please, We're High-Brow Literature ; Andrew Davies' Latest Adaptation Is Upsetting the Purists. Nothing New, Says James Rampton Finds Him in Asuasyauys Duays Duays D Asthis
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?