Oh dear Lord, if the cancelling of the tremendous and brilliantly written and acted Ripper Street is one sign of the corrupting cynicisms at the BBC, tonight’s Death Comes to Pemberley (pointless conclusion tomorrow) is the final proof. This loosely drawn and badly mocked up take on a future beyond Pride and Prejudice is exactly the corruption of awful commissioning editors and cynical writers, jostling for place and getting together to muse on what will sell. So they mix a take of now ‘popular’ characters, Mr Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet or Mr Whickham and cobble it together with a supposed detective drama, hence the introduction of decent actor Trevor Eave as the sleuth, like Shoestring in a wig.
It is so bad, so boring, so totally unrelated to the depth of Jane Austin’s marvellous characters and deep social understandings too, not only should the great lady be spinning in her grave but the creators should be hobbled together and pelted with copies both of Persuasion and Hercule Poirot. It aches with the tragic infections of Downtown Abbey too in the search for successful Christmas TV and is so full of anachronisms, cheap attempts to be ‘period’ and hollow references to the ‘duty of great ones’ or ‘I will not be constrained by place, Sir’ that all the actors should be shot or moved to an episode of Dr Who. There is no character, certainly any reflection of Austin’s vividly living people, no script and no point. It is empty prejudice that has none of the pride of Ripper Street and it, like its creators, should be garroted at source.