Revisiting Brideshead TV Series in Holland

A Dutch language internet entertainment website has posted a review of the 1981 Granada TV adaptation of Brideshead Revisited. This is on the occasion of its recent rebroadcast in the Netherlands on the ONS Channel. The reviewer Robert Gooijer opens with his recollection of seeing the original broadcast when he was a teenager. He is reminded of it when he hears the voice of Jeremy Irons during an:

…audiotour of Westminster Abbey, exactly the same anointing voice that he also used for the endless voice-overs in the TV series, which to a large extent come directly from the book by Evelyn Waugh, which I still have not read. A series that was much more successful worldwide than you would expect from the highest literary, mildly homosexual and rather markedly Catholic content. And a series that is dated in a strange way thirty-six years after its transmission…

After a summary of the story, the review concludes:

Does the series hold out after so many years? The first thing that strikes you in these days of widescreen is the 4: 3 format of the image, that does not lend itself to the breadth of Brideshead, which is such a wide house that it only fits perfectly in the picture when it is kilometers away, being filmed. The pace is also old-fashioned; Brideshead Revisited the book you seem to have in three hours but the series is incredibly languid – slow is too negative a word here. With a haphazard zap through the episodes, zapping also shows that there are still a lot of depressing things happening; it is not just feasting and puking out of the window, there are also many other things going on. But the class of the series remains standing proudly. Except, it must be said, perhaps Charles Ryder himself. He is a sort of stand-in for the viewer, an outsider who wants to be part of it, sine nobilitas and a sack. He is less sympathetic than we found him at the time. His monologues occasionally disturb him and he is a bit of a fool and actually quite an irritating actor. Irons, who also seems to be a kind of Charles Ryder, appreciates horse riding, fox hunting and other upper class hobbies. The wondrous thing is that the director initially had the actor who plays Sebastian in mind as Charles. You cannot imagine that. So Charles Ryder remains forever Jeremy Irons, who now forms a small blot on Brideshead, but that is obviously very personal. In any case, I have quickly turned off the audio tour, tired of his slimy lisping [slijmerige gelispel] (?). But the flashback to Brideshead Revisited was nevertheless valuable. The house is cooler than the entire Westminster Abbey actually.

The suggestion that you could read the book in three hours seems a bit overstated but perhaps this is a translation problem. The review is posted on the Dutch entertainment website  The translation is by Google with minor editing. Any suggestions on improving the translation may be sent via comment as provided below.

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