Monday, November 19, 2012

Tribute to British Television: A Guest Post by Petie

In the swirl of words [and schoolwork... and babysitting...] that surrounds me this month, I've barely had time to reply to e-mails, much less write blog posts.  Which you've probably noticed, no?  Well, anyway, my dear friend Puddle (also known as Petie or Country Girl) has come to my rescue with a guest post that had me grinning from beginning to end.  Friends are the best-- thanks so much for guest posting, Puddle! Everyone else, enjoy your reading and don't forget to stop by Petie's blog and check out the pictures of her adorable new nephew!

Any period drama lover is familiar with BBC. Any good period drama fanatic is borderline-obsessive with BBC. If you are the latter, please raise your hand. *Petie promptly shoves her hand in the air with pride* C’mon, people, I know I’m not alone. Get those hands up!

The British Broadcasting Company produces a variety of period dramas, from Austen to Dickens to Gaskell to Eliot. And we period drama fanatics soak them all up like sponges, latching onto each and every new drama that is released. Really, those period dramas are our one weakness. They are like the balm for our old-fashioned hearts, our instant transport into our favorite times. And not only that, but they provide countless quotes and one-liners which are so applicable to everyday, modern life. I mean, really. Without BBC dramas, the world would never have been blessed with such linguistic gems. You know, phrases like “SHAKE ME UP, JUDY!”

(Did I really just say that? I’m sorry, it just popt out!)

Seriously, though. BBC shows can be quite addicting. When I receive a new one from the library, I just want to gather my family together, settle in my living room with a cozy blanket and steaming cup of tea, and watch for the next eight hundred years, forgetting any appointments and all engagements. Now, some may say that an engagement is an engagement, but did I say an engagement was an elephant? No. I just said I love BBC.

Lark Rise to Candleford

But, really, why do we love BBC dramas so much? What is it about this British television that captures our hearts? Maybe it’s simply because while Britain is producing epics like North and South, Pride and Prejudice, Lark Rise to Candleford, and Sense and Sensibility, we Americans just get shows like… Glee. Or Modern Family. Yay for America. But really, for one thing, BBC dramas are just deuced fine shows with no begad nonsense about them. However, there are several aspects of BBC shows which particularly draw in us old-fashioned souls and good-television-deprived Americans.

Firstly, between the way they are filmed, the costumes, the dialogue, the sets and scenery, and the dancing, BBC shows just look like they came from a completely different era. Everything about them is purely old-fashioned. It’s really quite a wonderful thing to behold. They are simply beautiful shows, completely transporting you to another time. And you become lost in the world of high society, carriages, silk bonnets, and cravats. And tea. Lots and lots of tea.

Little Dorrit

And let’s not forget the spot-on accuracy of BBC! Not only are they historically accurate to the various time periods, but most of BBC’s shows are adaptations of classic books, and who can deny that BBC tries its utmost to remain faithful to each book they turn to film? Take Pride and Prejudice 1995, for instance. A large amount of the dialogue is taken directly from the book! How cool is that? And this method isn’t uncommon with BBC. Their efforts to make sure their film adaptations are as close to the original stories as possible are so refreshing. Hip, hip, hooray! 

BBC period dramas have mastered the forgotten art of being completely hysterical and side-splitting without being crude, profane, or insulting. (If you don’t believe me, go watch Cranford.) Without exception, every BBC drama I have seen is hilariously funny, clever, and witty. (Oh, you disagree? Be quiet, Sparkler.) And to add to that, for the most part, BBC keeps their period dramas pretty squeaky clean. Of course, like anything, there are exceptions, but BBC series are pretty much the only movies I feel comfortable recommending to anyone. There are almost never any scenes to skip (but why, oh why, did they feel the need to throw in that first scene of S&S’08?), and the rare cases of bad language are always extremely mild.
North and South

But now. I have come to the main reason why period drama fanatics (particularly fans of the female sort) adore BBC dramas. Are you ready for this? I’m sure you all know this, so say it with me…


Duhhhhhh. Thank you, Petie. I think we have all apprehended that much.

Seriously, though. What period drama-loving gal doesn’t love her a good, thick British accent? What young lady in her right mind doesn’t completely melt when they hear Richard Armitage a British person speak? What girl doesn’t nearly have a heart attack whenever a British guy opens his mouth? CAN I GET AN AMEN?? 

*Petie is blown out of her chair by the raucous response* Thank you. Faith in humanity restored.

Pride and Prejudice

 And now, there’s really not much more to say. BBC is just amazing. End of story. So. Let me sum up: why do we love BBC? Because the British Broadcasting Company simply IS the very epitome of period drama. 

BBC, we period drama fanatics salute you. And we do hope your family is in good health. 

What is your favorite BBC period drama?

Heya! I’m Petie, an aspiring author, wanna-be Brit, and die-hard Okie country girl. I love my Jesus with all I am, and I take great pleasure in good books, laughter, the color red, coffee, and of course, a good BBC drama. I blog over at All Things Bright and Beautiful. Come visit me, yes? I love making new friends. Cheers!


AnnaKate said...


For British accents, tea, North and South, cravats, and "SHAKE ME UP, JUDY."

Should I see Lark Rise to Candleford? I've heard mixed reviews! =)

Hayden said...


My favorite? Eeek! That's hard. But I love Cranford (both of them!), Little Dorrit, and of course, P&P :)

British accents rock.

Charlotte said...

I have to say, one of the things that makes me extremely proud to be British is the BBC period dramas. They are amazing. You missed last years Great Expectations off your list though! One of the best things I've ever watched, besides Middlemarch and P&P of course! xx

Molly said...

Very good post! I think my favorite is "Wives And Daughters." That is my favorite, SO FAR, though. :)

Anne-girl said...

Little Dorrit! Followed closely by North and South

Nessíma Tavariel said...

Oh BBC, you are so very frabjous! And besides those deuced fine period dramas, it's also brought such gems as Doctor Who, Robin Hood, Sherlock, and Merlin. So pretty much the BBC should just win the "Greatest TV Ever" award.

Great post, Petie!


Anonymous said...

Regarding Lark Rise... well, "mixed" is a good word for it!! :D It's very good, but not *quite* so squeaky clean as other BBC shows. There's some superstition, a bit of scandal here and there (but it's usually dealt with very discreetly), and on a lot of episodes, the feminism is rampant. But we've been watching it as a family, and it is very enjoyable (and HILARIOUS), but I can't recommend without just a wee bit of caution. But I knew a lot of Amy's readers have seen it, so that's why I mentioned it. =)

Rhoswen Faerie Wrose said...

AMEN!!!! :-D

I'd say my favorite, for right now, anyway, is definitely North&South. I have many others that I love, and 1995 P&P will always be a favorite, but my biggest BBC Period Drama love at the moment is N&S. ;-)

Miss Elizabeth Bennet said...

I second this notion! Very well done, Petie!

I have to agree with you 100% on the content of BBC period dramas. they don't need to be crude in order for people to watch their shows. Though there are a couple of BBC period dramas that I've watched that had some questionable scenes, the good thing about those period dramas (the good ones, mind) is that those scenes can be easily skipped over without missing too much of the plot.

Rachel (Cynthia) Heffington said...

Can I just say that I was nodding emphatically and silently "HUZZAH-ing" through the entire post? Especially when we got nitty-gritty and talked about -Richard Armitage- //ANY BRIT'S ACCENT//. Here here!

Elisabeth Grace Foley said...

It's become a rare occurrence for a day to go by without someone in my family quoting from Cranford or Martin Chuzzlewit in conversation. My younger siblings are incredibly and hilariously good at imitating accents! Best of all is parodying the lines to apply to whatever we're talking about—the other day my dad and I were quoting Persuasion while commiserating over a lost basketball game. :)

As for favorites, the two I just mentioned (and of course P&P '95 always has an honorary top spot). Have you ever seen Martin Chuzzlewit ('94)? If you haven't, you should!

Anonymous said...

Awesome post, Petie! Thanks so much for taking it upon yourself to help Amy out. : )

LAAAARK RIIIIISE!!! Good TV show... even though, IMHO, she has too many guys. Anywhoz. We haven't watched it in forever and a day, though, because we're too busy. (But not too busy to watch other BBC movies!) Sigh. BBC is the best. They've got all those AMAZING TV shows and movies AND ACCENTS!! and all we have is... um.... Disney? : P *lightbulb* WE'VE GOT LES MIZ 2012!!!!! Almost makes up for it. : )

Favorite BBC period drama.... Oh, my stars. That's hard. Wow. Let's see.... I really like North and South and Emma (2010) and Little Dorrit and Our Mutual Friend. But everything else is tied in a very close second. : )

By the way.... You had my shoved hand in the air, my hearty AMEN!!!, and my weird giggle at that crossed out Richard Armitage. XD


Lydia said...

P&P a;; the way with North and South. But p&p is from A&E...NOT bbc.....

Alexandra said...

BBC forever and ever. :D And North and South is my fave. And I second Nessima - can't forget their amazing TV shows! They just rock period. :D