Dramatisation of the romantic life and various relationships of poet Philip Larkin, from his arrival as librarian at Hull University in 1955 to his death in 1985.

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Monica Jones
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Maeve Brennan
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Betty Mackereth
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Eva Larkin
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Jean Hartley
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George Hartley
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Arthur Wood
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Dramatisation of the romantic life and various relationships of poet Philip Larkin, from his arrival as librarian at Hull University in 1955 to his death in 1985.

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26 July 2003 (UK)  »

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The King of Lugubre
29 March 2004 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

I saw this on TVO last night, attracted by the name Hugh Bonneville. He was so good as the young John Bayley in Iris, then I saw him in Take A Girl Like You, one of my favourite mini-series. Here he's playing Philip Larkin from the 50's, when he was appointed head Librarian at Hull University, to his death in 1985. This tall, pot-bellied man was madly attractive to three women, proof that thick glasses and a hearing aid are no impediments to desire. Take that, Hollywood...

Larkin's poetry has an ironic diction that carries the reader along with it. Bonneville manages to suggest that the style was the product of disappointment over not having the sexual magnetism of Dylan Thomas or Ted Hughes ("I'm no Ted Hughes in the charisma department"). Best acting was by Amanda Root, who brought Maeve fully to life. Her Roman Catholic scruples about sex outside of marriage provided the only tension in the story.


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