Twenty Years of Awesome: BBC's 1995 Pride and Prejudice
Stopping for a second in between the seemingly unending tasks left to do in time for my 75-year-old father’s move, I plopped onto the love seat, careful not to drop the turkey and provolone sandwich on a pretzel bun I had just thrown together for a quick lunch. I turned on the television. Three familiar words shouted out from the on-screen guide.
Pride and Prejudice.
Yes, the BBC production starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. Ovation was running a P&P marathon. This episode? Part Four: Elizabeth, along with Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, visits Pemberley.
I couldn’t help myself. It didn’t matter that I had seen it too many times to count, that it is my absolute favorite novel adaptation, and that it was required viewing for my two sons as soon as they were old enough to understand it. “I am severely displeased” has become part of our family jargon.
P&P’s siren call proved too much for me.
I tuned in right as Elizabeth scales the Peaks.
Ahhhh, my happy place.
It’s been my happy place for so long, I forgot what year this version was filmed.
Twenty years ago.
I watched Elizabeth walk the gardens, then leave her aunt and uncle to survey the lake, knowing full well Darcy stood on the other side, warm and dusty from his long ride in from London. I always get so nervous for her, for her embarrassment of being caught on his property. Now, at least, we can creep on Facebook pages or Instagram accounts without fear of being discovered.
He removes his coat and plunges into the water.
You know what I forgot? They never show him emerging from the lake. Firth’s practically air-dried as he struts, white shirt blowing in the wind, when he encounters Elizabeth. His hair is a bit wet, I grant you, but apparently that scene was only imagined and played out in Lost in Austen.
Happily, I was also able to see “the look” before I needed to get back to work. You know, when Darcy gazes adoringly at Elizabeth while she plays and sings after dinner the following evening. It’s a good thing my husband and I were already married when this came out, or I’d still be searching for the gentleman who would lovingly gaze at me across a room to this day. That look is the thing that endeared Colin Firth to me (and millions of other women around the world) for these twenty years. In fact, I actually have seen every one of his movies. Well played, Mr. Firth, well played.
The 1995 BBC P&P began the Jane Austen craze really, something that hasn’t waned, as evidenced by the amount of Austen fan fiction available on Amazon. And although my opinions of the various characters have changed with my…ahem…more mature viewing, nothing feels more like home than a good binge viewing of my favorite classic of all time.
How about you, dear readers? What is something you watch over and over again?