Tabloid Feeding Frenzy on Waugh Adaptation

After the announcement of its debut later this month, the London tabloids are making a media meal of the BBC’s production of Decline and Fall and its stars–mostly the latter. There are stories in the Sun, Mirror, Express and Star, with an additional story in the Mail, which had provided an earlier feature article on the project. These latest stories deal mostly with actress Eva Longoria who plays the role of Margot Beste-Chetwynde. Most typical is perhaps the story in the Sun accompanied with lavish illustrations of Longoria. Her part is described as that of a “Welsh housewife”, harking back to her previous performance in the successful US TV series Desparate Housewives. The Welsh reference is a bit more obscure in the case of Margot.

The most interesting story appears in iNews which has reported the interviews of lead actors Jack Whitehall and David Suchet in greater detail than the other papers. Here are a few excerpts:

“It really is raucously funny in the first episode [explains Whitehall] – knockabout and farcical. But in later episodes, it goes to a much darker place, and I enjoy watching that kind of stuff.” … The comedy in Decline and Fall works because the cast do not play it for laughs. “We played it straight, within our own world of eccentricity,” says Suchet. “I think that’s where this comedy sits because it’s truthful and yet it’s not one hundred percent real in style.” … This may be a social satire written in the 1920s, but it is just as relevant in the present day “Throughout the three episodes, there are tiny little hints and subtle references that have echoes in the present day,” says Whitehall. “That helps the satire really resonate”… 

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