In the wake of the TV premieres of Victoria (ITV) and Barbarians Rising (History Channel) as well as the launch of the second season of BBC’s remake of Poldark, The Herald Scotland decided to name the top 12 period TV dramas of all time. This included the 1981 Granada TV adaptation of Brideshead Revisited:
GROWN, if slightly fey, young men with teddy bears? Indeed. This languid but hugely popular 1981 adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s novel, with Charles Ryder (Jeremy Irons), a Second World War army officer looking back on his Oxford friendship with the flamboyant Sebastian Flyte (Anthony Andrews) and his time at Brideshead Castle, where he is now stationed. The notable cast also included Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud and Claire Bloom. To Anthony Burgess, it was “the best piece of television ever made.”
Other period dramas with literary sources on the list included Andrew Davies’ adaptation for the BBC of Tolstoy’s War and Peace as well as the BBC’s productions of Robert Graves’ I, Claudius and Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.