|The beginning of the 4-part TV series "The Nine Tailors" --|
a 1914 wedding in British upper class splendor.
The first episode of the TV series continues with the experiences of Peter Wimsey in the trenches of Word War I, providing the back-story of his relationship to his incomparable gentleman's gentleman, Bunter. It's a very dramatic and fast-paced hour of drama. Only at the very end of this episode do we go forward 20 years to 1934, when Wimsey and Bunter crash their car into a snowdrift in the same little town -- the point in time where the original novel by Dorothy Sayers begins. I find this rearrangement of flashbacks in the book into an exciting first episode to be very effective and enjoyable.
|Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter Wimsey.|
From the second episode onward, the TV drama follows the book quite closely, continuing to dramatize every possible action scene with enthusiasm. In fact, this TV treatment seemed so exciting that we watched all 4 episodes in one night.
I've already written about my visit to the prototype of the little town and the church that is central to the plot of Sayers' book. I believe that some of the filming was done at that location or at least using a reconstruction of that church. If anything, this treatment an improvement over the book, as the long-winded digressions on bell ringing and other technical subjects were condensed sufficiently to contribute to the plot without retarding the action. Even though I don't find the sound of pealing bells particularly appealing, it's much nicer to hear them than to read about them!
The Five Red Herrings, another Lord Peter Wimsey novel, was also made into a BBC TV series with Ian Carmichael as the detective. I also watched it recently, but did not like it nearly as well -- in fact, I found the acting wooden and dialog too staged, which is odd since it dates from only a year later. The actors in "Nine Tailors" seemed much better suited to their roles, especially the character parts like the Rector, his wife, the doctor, and the eccentric village people.
For all my blog posts about Dorothy Sayers, including this one, click here.