Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Catch Up TV... Missed the TV Moment Everyone's Talking about? Alastair McKay Looks at the Latest Version of Lady Chatterley's Lover, and Bunny Boilers in Dr Foster

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Catch Up TV... Missed the TV Moment Everyone's Talking about? Alastair McKay Looks at the Latest Version of Lady Chatterley's Lover, and Bunny Boilers in Dr Foster

Article excerpt

Byline: Alastair McKay

YOU would, wouldn't you? Mellors, the gamekeeper, I mean. Look at him in Lady Chatterley's Lover (BBC iPlayer) with his hipster beard and cosy cottage, and his habit of hammering nails topless. He mumbles a bit when he's not shouting "Pipe down, ye bitch!" and he seems a bit intimidated but he has decorative handwriting, so he's not entirely a beast.

And his depressed repression can be explained by a life of servitude and shellshock, on account of the war and the tyrannical class system which favours people such as the crippled aristocrat Sir Clifford Herbert Chatterley-Cholmondley-Warner. Dear old Cliffie is a herbert with starched pyjamas and a tin ear for the erotic needs of his wife, Lady Constance, who has cheeks like excited apples and a craving for something to make her life of aristocratic duty less boring.

Ah yes, boring. Traditionally, Lady Chatterley's Lover is about rough sex, with a bit of below-stairs transgression thrown in. Jed Mercurio's adaptation isn't entirely chaste but there is nothing in it that might reasonably be expected to stir the undergarments of one's wife or servants, more's the pity. Yes, there's a bit of operatic cunnilingus in a thunderstorm but the general air of truncated lust is dispelled by frequent flurries of class-conscious grievance.

Of course, the sex and class collide.

Take, for example, the scene in which poor old Connie, her drawers afire after an aggressive flirtation with Mellors in the woods, arrives home and invites Sir Cliff to clamber aboard. Sir Cliff, of course, is paralysed. He has a motorised undercarriage. "Thank you, darling, but it's no use," he says, quite reasonably. "There are things you can do, for me," Connie suggests, but it is 1919-ish and female sexuality has yet to be invented.

And then there is Connie's undercover trip into the real world, where Mellors treats her to a toffee apple. …

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