21 January 2017 | martin-intercultural
Entertaining but hardly haunting
This show has a number of sexy ingredients - English countryside, 1930s glamour, grand mansions and stately homes. Yet on balance, I found it less satisfying than other literary adaptations from this era. In seeking to be faithful to the original written stories, it picks up quite a bit of baggage that seems to speak to now-dated, prewar female sensibilities. This includes the central character's 'privileged' yet unexplained background. I'm sure 80 years ago, the very notion of a mysterious do-good aristocrat opting to fight crime would leave the ladies with a tingling sensation in their undergarments; not so much nowadays. There are other scenes, and twists and turns, which feel bookish and just packed in for good measure; they may have worked at the time, and especially on paper, but contribute little to the TV version. Mr. Campion himself fits the bill well - after all, avoiding to cast any remotely dashing male characters has been de rigueur in portraying 30s England. But after a while, his eternally goofy grin gets tiresome, particularly as there is not much else we learn about his background, childhood, career, personal life or romantic entanglements. The same applied to Lugg -- yes, the acting is amazingly realistic but after two episodes, the expression 'one-trick pony' will come to mind. All in all, a nice show to spend a quiet Saturday evening with, without getting shaken and stirred in the process.