A Few of my Favorite New British Things

By Friday, August 25, 2017 , ,

Can you believe 2017 is more than half over?! Yeah, me neither. But let me just tell you, 2017 has been a great year for my England-loving heart. I’ve encountered so many wonderful British gems that I’m now going to share with you. Unsurprisingly, these finds range from TV to news to personal life to bookishness. 

A new Pride and Prejudice is in the works 
Yes, it’s happening, friends! Read the full story here! It’s been twelve years since Joe Wright’s gorgeous adaptation of Austen’s classic, so it’s clearly high time for someone new to step up to the plate. ;) The fact that the people behind Victoria and Poldark are taking it on makes me even more excited. I’m ready with my tea and crumpets already.


Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria and Tom Hughes as Prince Albert in Mammoth Screen's new drama "Victoria" (Photo Credit: Masterpiece PBS on Facebook)

This show by Mammoth Screen stepped into Downton Abbey’s time slot on PBS earlier this year and wow, did it deliver! Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes are positively electric and charming as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Less is popularly known about the early phases of Victoria’s life and reign, but these two are bringing them to delightful life, brilliantly undergirded by Daisy Goodwin’s writing. She’s spent hundreds of hours poring over Queen Victoria’s now publicly available diary entries and it clearly shows in the drama’s historical detail and its deep exploration of Victoria and Albert’s relationship. Plus, the costumes and design take my breath away in nearly every frame. Approximately every two minutes I change my mind about my favorite dress of Victoria’s and maybe every two seconds my heart goes all fluttery at Prince Albert’s deep German drawl. Bring it on, Season 2! 

The Crown 
And while we’re on the subject of British monarchs, this Netflix original show about young Queen Elizabeth II is literally winning television this year. I think it’s been nominated for what, 13 Emmy Awards now? New ones could seriously be made up for John Lithgow’s performance of Winston Churchill and for Peter Morgan’s writing. Those are the two aspects of this show that consistently floored me as I watched it.
Claire Foy as Elizabeth II in Netflix's "The Crown" (Photo Credit: The Crown on Facebook)

Two scenes in particular come to mind when I think about Morgan’s exquisite writing for The Crown. The first is a tense exchange between Elizabeth and her high-spirited sister Margaret. They consider how their father’s relationship with them continues to affect their adult lives, and despite their personality clashes, they each seem to glimpse the trials that Elizabeth’s unexpectedly early rise to the throne has placed on the other. And the second is a conversation between Churchill and the artist painting his portrait. With so many hours of painting and sitting, barriers between the two men drop in ways they wouldn’t have otherwise, and viewers receive a poignant hint of the turbulence and tragedy behind the steely politician the world knew as Winston Churchill. 

Claire Foy and Matt Smith’s deliveries of Elizabeth and Philip are also as riveting as they’re relatable – the viewer loves them both and hardly knows who to sympathize with more when they encounter the inevitable conflicts of life as a married couple within a royal family steeped in tradition and expectation. All that to say, if you’re slightly less old-fashioned than I am but would still be interested in a little British history and excellent drama, The Crown is definitely a good choice.

New Northanger Abbey Audio Drama by Audible
THIS. THIS, my friends! My favorite Austen hero changes frequently, but Henry Tilney is firmly in first place right now thanks to Jeremy Irvine’s deliciously teasing and masculine voice for him in this audio drama. But seriously, this is a charming rendition of Jane Austen’s most clearly satirical work. The characters somehow seem more vibrant even than their film counterparts because of the delightful voice cast here. Ella Purnell’s Catherine Morland speaks with the appropriate sweet earnestness and innocence, while Lily Cole’s loud, syrupy drawl lends the perfect mix of charm and insincerity we’d expect of Isabella Thorpe. It’s also lovely to hear Eleanor Tomlinson in the part of Eleanor Tilney – my Poldark-loving heart is always warmed to see dear Demelza in fun roles. But the crowning jewel of the production is of course Emma Thompson as Jane Austen/the narrator. She takes the reader into every extreme of Catherine’s turbulent teenage emotions, making the comedy funnier, the disappointments stronger, and the triumphs happier. 

A Poldark Coloring Book 
First of all, if you love Poldark and haven’t been following PoldarkDish, do yourself a favor and go watch all of their recaps NOW. I look forward to them almost as much as the show itself. Even the behind-the-scenes crew of Poldark found the lovely ladies of PoldarkDish and the Anglophile Channel so amusing that they invited them to be extras in Season 3. Sweet Marlise and Elyse came back with a whole bunch of Aidan Turner-signed merchandise for fans like me who could only live vicariously through them, and… I WON SOMETHING!! Yeah, it hardly ever happens to me either, so can you imagine my excitement and disbelief when they pulled my name out around the 14:15 mark of this recent recap they did? It still feels a little weird going back and watching it. But anyways, the prize of a signed coloring book is now here and I definitely giggled like a middle schooler when I opened it.
Hope you’ve had a great week, friends! Any other British news or items of interest I should be on the lookout for? You know I need to know these things so hit me up if you run across something!

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