Friday, 14 August 2015

The Scandalous

This bodice-ripper offers cheap thrills aplenty

Written by Ben Felsenburg
Ben-Felsenburg-colour-176The magnificent portrait of Seymour, Lady Worsley by Joshua Reynolds alone makes a visit to the Cinnamon Drawing Room at the fine Yorkshire stately home of Harewood House a must. Standing tall in a crimson riding outfit, she’s an Age of Enlightenment knockout and she knows it.

The riding crop in her right hand proclaims she would brook no nonsense, and so it proved in her pursuit of divorce, now recounted in a deliciously wicked costume drama, The Scandalous Lady W (Monday, BBC Two, 9pm). ‘My mother did not tell me that playing rantum-scantum would be thus,’ Seymour (Natalie Dormer) tells Sir Richard Worsley as they catch their breath in bed in the early days of their marriage.

There will be plenty of rantumscantum for Lady W, but little more with hubby. For soon Sir Richard is cajoling his wife to take a string of lovers so he can indulge his penchant for voyeurism in an altogether racier variety of Through The Keyhole than the version popularised by Loyd Grossman. Eventually she finds love with one of the men foisted upon her, at which point Richard holds Seymour entirely to blame, telling her, ‘I made a vow to love and cherish. You made a vow to love, cherish – and obey.’

The budget is fit only for a Poundland Barry Lyndon, but the script more than compensates as a sharp-witted and salutary reminder of what it was to be a woman in an era when wives were, essentially, chattel.

NOT TO BE MISSED

TV-Aug14-02-590

MOUNTAIN GOATS, Fri, BBC1, 10.35pm
This oldfashioned sitcom about a Highland rescue team will please those in search of undemanding laughs.

BRITAIN’S SPENDING SECRETS, Weds, BBC1, 9pm
Anne Robinson follows the money to find out what we’re splashing out on in a twopart series.

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?, Thurs, BBC1, 9pm
Jane Seymour – née Joyce Frankenberg – uncovers the moving history of her family in Nazi-occupied Europe.


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