I see that Elaine Cassidy has been tipped for the top. Her Lucy Honeychurch catches some of what Helena Bonham Carter missed in the Merchant Ivory film, without succeeding in eclipsing her. The main improvement is that she and a surprisingly unfoppish Laurence Fox look like a more realistic pair of lovers in this Andrew Davies adaptation than HBC and DDL and seem fated for different reasons. I wasn't quite so immediately convinced Rafe Spall had what it took to part them.
Sophie Thompson never disappoints and is a fabulous Charlotte, Mark Williams turns in another great piece of work as does Timothy West.
In fact, compared to the Merchant Ivory version, most of the characters have a little more nuanced colour in their cheeks, with the exception of Freddie and Mrs Honeychurch. What stops this taking off and flying is the lack of real vitality in the script and a lot of direction which tends toward the pedestrian.
Although, on balance, I think I still prefer the Merchant Ivory version, there's plenty enough here to enjoy.
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