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In the end how do you judge a man like George Gordon Byron? He certainly left
a nice body of work to judge him as writer and poet. It might have been more had
he spent a little more time at creation and less indulging every kind of vice there
was. As he puts it so accurately pleasure is the only real reason we know we're
This film covers the period of 1812 to 1824 from the publication of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage until his death. He's quite the toast of Regency London
and he's welcome by dint of his work and title in the best of homes. He soon
wears out that welcome in a series of scandalous affairs. Regency society
didn't mind affairs, but just be discreet. Discreet did not exist in his vocabulary.
Byron's personal life is probably best known for his affair with Lady Caroline
Lamb. But this film shows she's only one of many. Camilla Power plays her
and Power is in the film long enough to show what a mad woman she was.
A little too much for a lover and a husband to handle.
I can't think of anything Byron missed. He made it with any woman who showed the slightest interest, even a little incest with a sister. He indulged himself in the love that dares not speak its name with a young boy. He drank to excess, took opiates at a rate that his contemporary Coleridge might have
envied. There's brief scene of him turtling down some Laudanum like it was a
I think he envied the Shelleys played here by Sally Hawkins and Oliver Dimsdale. Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley were his contemporaries and they seemed to find happiness that was unattainable for Byron.
Jonny Lee Miller plays the title role and makes Byron the last word in hedonism. He strikes just the right notes and pulls a lot of emotions from the
viewer. You envy him and yet you're jealous of him. He's rich with a title which allows him to indulge. We'd all like to be him, but the business of day to day living leaves 95% of us with enough challenges for our lives.
This BBC production of Byron is both revealing and non-judgmental. It will
give you a good understanding of the man who in many ways was the symbol of the romantic age.
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