Lost in Austen – What's the Verdict?


Gentle Readers in the UK, the rest of the Janeite world is depending on you. Give us your impressions on the first episode of Lost in Austen (which has episodes! Four of them! Three more than MP, NA, and Persuasion had! Yes, still beating that dead horse, thanks.) Feel free to liveblog if you like (post comments while the show is airing).

Lost in Austen News Roundup: Jane Give Us Strength Edition


Jane give us strength, because we actually have to do a bally news roundup about this thing. Zero hour approacheth, fellow Janeites, and we feel a disturbance in the Force.

Alert Janeite Helen sent us a review from The Times, and it is hard to tell if it is unkind or if the reviewer is just being snarky.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that any predictable drivel ever written about Jane Austen has to begin with those six words. In this respect alone, ITV’s big-budget, time-travel costume drama Lost in Austen does not disappoint.

In nearly all other respects, however, it does. At some point in the preliminary meetings for this stupid, stupid programme I bet you somebody will have said “Life on Mars meets Pride and Prejudice!” And somebody else will have clapped, and decided that this was a very good idea. These people were morons. Take them out, ITV, and shoot them.

Well, that seems clear enough. Continue reading

Lost in Austen broadcast starts September 3 on ITV1


Alert Janeite Boris posted in comments a synopsis of the first episode of Lost in Austen from ITV’s website; it’s got quite a bit of detail that might be considered spoilery, so be warned. The first episode will be broadcast on Wednesday, September 3, from 9-10 p.m. We presume the other episodes will fill the same time slot in subsequent weeks. Notice it is not being broadcast during the family hour. Hmmmm.

Which brings us to the item that irritates us the most in this synopsis: “Episode 1 of 4.” ITV is giving this thing well over 3 hours when NA, MP, and Persuasion got less than 90 minutes each.

John Sutherland snarks a bit in the Guardian, but like everyone else, isn’t quite sure what to expect.

A couple of articles in the British press discuss the autumn trend of costume dramas, feeding on the success of the Austen adaptations from last year as well as Cranford and Lark Rise to Candleford. The Daily Mail suggests this trend is meant to offer comfort in a time of economic uncertainty, though a commenter points out that one of the upcoming films, an adaptation of Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles, is hardly a comfortable story. The Times has a similar article.

Promo and Trailer for Lost in Austen


Alert Janeite Maisy posted it in comments…

ETA: Alert Janeite Mari Carmen sent us a couple of links from the ITV site (which Alert Janeite Cinthia also referenced in comments): The main program site (with a couple of videos for those living in the UK) and a behind the scenes photo gallery.

In which the Editrix posts with a strained smile


Thisisnottingham.co.uk has an article about the fellow bringing us the latest incarnation of The Great and All-Encompassing Darcy.

When asked about his role in relation to previous Darcy’s, Elliot said “I’m sort of contributing to a long line of heritage and I suppose for certain scenes, like the shot in the lake, it was worth seeing Colin Firth’s performance.

“But it’s not my job to worry about what he did 15 years ago. I just treat it like I treat every role.”

There is, we are informed by some of our Gentle Readers in the know, a lake scene in Lost in Austen.

But Jane Austen herself would not be proud of Elliot’s literary admission.

When asked which era he would most like to go back to if he could, he replied: “Probably the 70’s. Maybe some sort of porno book. I’d get a chest wig or something. I don’t read books ever so who knows?”

Forehead, meet desk.

More on Lost in Austen


“The Life of Wylie” has an entry on Lost in Austen that gives us–yes! the tar-hearted spinster purist of AustenBlog!–the faintest stirrings of hope.

Before you mention it, the cast claim comparisons with Life On Mars are wide of the mark.

Oh fine, blame the marketers. 😉

I saw episode one of the new four-part ITV1 drama yesterday.

It includes a scene where Amanda, played by Jemima Rooper, sings Petula Clark’s Downtown to Mr Darcy and co.

“It was bizarre – a very odd thing to do,” Jemima told us.

It sounds like it just might be…actual character development. Maybe Amanda’s not as much of a Mary Sue as we feared. Or maybe we’re just a hopeless sucker. But we cannot help thinking that it can’t but be significant–and infuriating–that ITV is giving this four hours and only gave MP, NA and Persuasion 90 minutes EACH.

Thanks to Alert Janeite Patty for the link!

An article in the Daily Mail on general ITV retrenching mentions,

One said: ‘There is no question that content is still key to turning around ITV’s fortunes. But we will have to think carefully about where the money is being spent.

‘Drama is a hugely expensive area – usually costing in excess of £500,000 an hour to make.

‘We will have to look at the plans for big scale productions such as period dramas carefully.’

The broadcaster had some success with its Jane Austen season last year, but has shelved plans to follow it up with another season of classics.

Incidentally, Amazon UK is listing street date for the Region 2 DVD of Lost in Austen as September 29 (Michaelmas!).

Bedlam Awaits


Raise pikes and prepare to be boarded, Gentle Readers…it’s coming!

Lost In Austen is billed as an “ingenious reinvention” of the much-loved novel and owes more than a little inspiration to BBC hit Life On Mars.

We’ll be all astonishment if this turns out to be half as good as Life on Mars. The American version of Life on Mars didn’t even turn out to be half as good as Life on Mars, what makes anyone think that Mary Sue in a Regency gown will do it?

While Elizabeth discovers the joys of the internet and macrobiotic diets

That might actually be kind of amusing.

The writers have taken great liberties with the plot – Jane Bennet marries the clergyman Mr Collins, Lydia Bennet runs off with Mr Bingley and Mr Darcy falls in love with Amanda.

What did we say? Mary Sue.

Scenes sure to raise eyebrows among Austen purists include Amanda showing the Bennet sisters her newly waxed bikini line and taking Mr Bingley outside for a “snog”.

Ya think?

“People may hate it. Belle-lettrists may orchestrate public disembowelments of all concerned.”

Nah, we’ll just mock you till you cry like a little girl. Or maybe use you for Cluebatting practice.

Lost in Austen UK broadcast in September


The Telegraph has an article about why-we-keep-adapting-Jane-yada-yada that contains the somewhat interesting news that Lost in Austen will be broadcast in ITV in September.

Lizzie enters our modern world through a portal in the Bennet wardrobe and ends up in a bedsit in Hammersmith; while Amanda moves into 19th-century Longbourn with the rest of the Bennet family. It’s every teenage girl’s fantasy: sleeping in a bed with Jane, curling Lydia and Mary’s hair. Bingley makes a pass at you, while Darcy smoulders and mentally ravishes you. The plot pretty much writes itself. You just step into the pages of your favourite book.

Why don’t they just name the main character Mary Sue and get it over with?

The audience’s desire for courtly love is fine. It doesn’t even matter if they play loose with the plot. Janeites are horrified by the inappropriate kissing, but the final frames of Adrian Shergold’s extraordinary 2007 film Persuasion, where Sally Hawkins literally ran to claim her love, pounding along the streets of Bath as the camera whirled and swooped, were brilliant.


The audience’s desire for courtly love is fine. It doesn’t even matter if they play loose with the plot. Janeites are horrified by the inappropriate kissing, but the final frames of Adrian Shergold’s extraordinary 2007 film Persuasion, where Sally Hawkins literally ran to claim her love, pounding along the streets of Bath as the camera whirled and swooped, were brilliant really weird.

There, fixed that for you.

And master adaptor Andrew Davies is a modern god for putting the sex and violence back into Austen’s novels.

Put it BACK into Austen’s novels? What?

The recent rape scene that opened Davies’ BBC adaptation of Sense and Sensibility stopped any of us swooning over Willoughby.

We were too busy trying to figure out what the heck was going on.

But you know casting is not the same as character. Impressionable middle-aged men may fawn over Keira in Pride and Prejudice, but casting Billie Piper (all tits and pout) in Mansfield Park was a grievous mistake. She’s a lovely young actress, but playing moralistic Fanny Price? Someone should be shot. So I’m not losing sleep over the Bond girl in Lost in Austen.

Casting is the least of their problems, really.

It’s late and we’re tired. Dorothy has the Cluebat; feel free to swing away.

Lost in Austen Broadcast Date Delayed


The Guardian is reporting that ITV is delaying the broadcast of Lost in Austen, along with some other new dramas, as a result of a change of management at the network.

It is thought that Fincham – who starts his ITV job on May 12 – wants to focus particularly on drama,

It’s unclear if that means “he wants more drama” (in which case, why delay broadcasting a drama such as Lost in Austen?) or “he wants to make sure it’s GOOD drama so snarky bloggers stop mocking us” (in which case, better luck next time, mate). 😉

Jane Austen Makes Like FedEx


…she delivers for PBS.

Masterpiece Whatchamacallit reports that its ratings for the Jane Austen season are up FIFTY PERCENT over last season.

We repeat: FIFTY PERCENT! A fifty percent gain in ratings! We complain about the quality of these productions, Gentle Readers, but we all watched them, didn’t we? Talk about hoist by our own petard. We hope that the folks involved don’t forget that better quality productions would have received just as high ratings, and probably even higher. Just saying.

In other Jane Austen TV movie news, the release date of the Region 2 DVDs of Lost in Austen has been moved back to October 6, so it seems likely that the series won’t be aired in the spring after all. Got another dog on your hands, ITV? Don’t say we didn’t tell you so.