Diana was a hugely important series to me. I went on holiday to Cornwall when I was ten and the BBC were staying in our hotel while in the area filming the location scenes for the production. I recognised the wonderful Mary Morris and Patsy Kensit, who at that time was chiefly known for the Bird's Eye peas commercial.
When the show finally aired in January 1984 I watched it purely out of curiousity. This was the first love story I ever saw and over ten weeks I was completely gripped. Patsy Kensit was unimaginably beautiful and those first two episodes evoked such an innocent boundless childhood adventure.
When episode three recast the two leads and Kevin McNally and Jenny Seagrove took on the roles I was initially disappointed, since I found the characters less likeable. But the story became even more gripping as war comes to characters and eventually destroys their love in a totally unexpected way. Kevin McNally is splendid as Jan; subtly he allows Jan to have a working class neurosis that occasionally has physical symptoms. As a young adult he insists on changing from the rather mild mannered humble youth he was, but whenever Diana or her powerful family lay down the law his confidence is shattered and he has a memorable look of trembling fear.
The magnificent theme music is strangely gloomy, a beautiful child like melody which really captures the hopelessness at the centre of the drama.
Andrew Davies' adaptation typically takes average material and gives it a contemporary relevance. A truly beautiful piece of television with a gallery of marvellous actors in supporting roles which is long overdue for recognition.
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