There still are some bits to finish up from last week’s UK broadcast of Miss Austen Regrets. The Telegraph’s Stephen Pile said:
At the start of the 21st century we are all madly interested in What Jane Austen Was Really Like, but the reports are confusing. In the cinema Becoming Jane showed us an intelligent woman who was nonetheless feminine and romantic, but television is not so easily fooled and has come up with something far more complex.
In Miss Austen Regrets (BBC1, Sun) she had an utterly different set of boyfriends from the film (Rev Bridges, Bigg-Wither and even, controversially, Dr Haden, but no sign of the racy Lefroy). What emerged was Jane Our Contemporary.
The Times’ Roland White seems less than pleased.
Yet the Jane Austen portrayed so brilliantly here by Olivia Williams was hardly a role model for today’s spiky, independent career girls. For all her bravado on the subject, she was obsessed by the one thing that eluded her – Mr Right. It was pretty much all she talked about: partly advising her niece and partly reflecting on her own lack of success.
We feel as though we should paraphrase Edward Austen from the film–“If that’s what you think it is about, perhaps you should watch it again.” 😉
Whereas the Guardian’s Andrew Anthony is in raptures.
Surely not even the most devoted member of the Jane Austen Society would have thought that what British television needed just now was another costume drama of early 19th-century social manners featuring Hugh Bonneville. And yet Miss Austen Regrets was a sublime delight. Olivia Williams as Austen grabbed our sympathy with throwaway epigrams, and such was the spirit of the piece, that every visual cliche seemed almost fresh.