Autumn is almost upon us, so the Beeb has assumed everyone is back from their holidays and ready to snuggle up to a few Sunday night one-off period drama adaptations. Last Sunday, we had Robb Stark taking over Ned’s role as Lady Chatterley’s Lover (I did record it, but as yet am far too embarrassed to actually sit down and watch it), next Sunday has The Go-Between and tonight brings with it An Inspector Calls.
Studied by millions of schoolchildren (including me) over the years, Inspector is, at first blush, an unsettling little detective story; the Inspector of the title is investigating the suicide of a young, working-class woman connected in some way to the wealthy Birlington family. At heart, though, it’s a morality play about the class system itself and the devastating impact the unthinking selfishness of the rich has on the poor, which sounds appallingly grim for a Sunday night but is no less pertinent a message today than it was in the 1940s when it was first performed or 1912 when it’s set.
Of course, I’ve now made it sound really boring and worthy, but I don’t remember it that way at all – of necessity, it’s a bit stagey, but it’s also short, sharp and pleasingly eerie, and I really enjoyed it when I read it as a teenager. By way of additional incentive, this latest adaptation has a fantastic cast headed up by David Thewlis, Ken Stott and Miranda Richardson, so if you can ignore how dull I’ve unintentionally made it sound (sorry) and fancy tuning in, the Inspector will be calling at 8.30pm tonight on BBC1.
On a completely different note, meanwhile, those looking for something focussing on modern social mores rather than period ones might be interested in Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce which kicks off on Lifetime on Tuesday (15th) at 10pm. A dramedy about a self-help author trying to muddle her way through (with a little help from her friends) after the breakdown of her marriage, it’s adapted from a series of novels, stars Cuddy from House and was developed for tv by Buffy vet Marti Noxon (one half of the team who brought us the magnificent UnREAL this summer). It’s also been renewed for a second season, in case you’re worried about getting invested. Both Jed and I have a little too much coming up to give it a go but if you decide to check it out (or already have), let us know how you get on.