Memoir of Brideshead TV Film in Vanity Fair

Michael Lindsay-Hogg, the original director of the 1981 Granada TV film production of Brideshead Revisited, has written a memoir of his experience. This is published in the current issue of Vanity Fair magazine and is entitled “Inside the Making of Brideshead Revisited, the Original British TV Obsession.” Lindsay-Hogg was replaced by Charles Sturridge due to a strike which delayed the production after initial filming. A contractural commitment for another project required him to move on.

Lindsay-Hogg explains how the finished production

… became a watershed in British and American television. It was broadcast on PBS beginning in January 1982 and was described as “the biggest British invasion since the Beatles.” The series was a precursor to the wonderful Merchant Ivory films of the 1980s and, later, to Downton Abbey. But, grounded in Waugh’s greatest novel, Brideshead Revisited was concerned not with costumed nostalgia or cliff-hangers or audience-grabbing surprises but with how life changes, how the dreams of youth alter and, in time, become a sterner reality.

He goes on to conclude with a description of a reunion of the cast and crew which took place at Castle Howard, the setting for the film chosen by him and Derek Granger, the producer. This took place earlier this year marking the 35th anniversary of the film’s first UK broadcast in 1981:

Our actors, when it all started, mostly ranged in age from their early 20s to mid-30s. Now they are men and women in their late 50s to early 70s. And Derek, with all his marbles and wit, is 95. He remarked that getting everyone together after all these years might be “rather like herding a group of feral cats in the middle of a thunderstorm.” But we met for a dinner, hosted by Nicholas Howard and his elegant wife, Victoria, the present custodians of Castle Howard, in the grand dining room of the castle—the most notable, beautiful, enormous, but harmonious house of its kind in England, started in 1699 by Sir John Vanbrugh, architect and playwright both. “I’d like to give a toast,” Nick Howard said, rising and raising his glass, “to the then and the now. What was and what is.”


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