Muse's Song (musesong) wrote in seeking_ophelia,
Muse's Song
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seeking_ophelia

Radio Times on Desperate Romantics'

It's not yet on-line and I'll edit this post when it is with the link to her blog but I think that those who may have been concerned about the upcoming BBC 2 series may take some comfort from the BBC Radio Times critic, Alison Graham column in next week's issue.

I'll transcribe some bits from it.

"Desperate Romantics has sex on the brain - just don't look for any history - says Alison Graham.

I wasn't too far into watching Desperate Romantics, BBC2's jokey melodrama about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood of Victorian artists .....when I realised that Desperate Romantics reminded me of that episode in Blackadder the Third featuring the poets in the coffee shop.

I am sure you remember the one. It starred Robbie Coltrane as a volcanically tempered Dr. Johnson and Shelley, Coleridge and Byron were all lounging about being comically tragic... before Blackadder observed "There's nothing intellectual about wandering about Italy in a big shirt, trying to get laid". Substitute 'Victorian England' for Italy and you've got Desperate Romantics in a nutshell.....

It feels like an extended boy-band video - it certainly looks like one. ... I can see it's meant to be something of a romp, but I can't help but feel short-changed as the Pre-Raphaelites were an important artistic movement (albeit one that was reviled at the time and frequently since) and I'd quite like to learn something about them.....

(she continues to write a few paragraphs about historical TV dramas)

What struck me forcefully about Desperate Romantics, and others of its ilk, is that someone somewhere is terrified of history seeming "dull", and if it isn't presented to the all-important demographic of Young People as a MTV special, then everyone else will switch off in droves."

She's made good points and I expect other critics in the major newspapers will reflect this.
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I'm glad some critics are talking sense. I read the book to give it a chance, but the constant, unending emphasis on sex was tedious in the extreme. Patronising, too. History doesn't require sexing-up, unless you happen to be a fourteen-year-old. I hated the way Moyle basically reduced Lizzie Siddal and Jane Morris to the sum of their genitalia, skipping over their wit and intelligence.

Jan Marsh was politely restrained in her review, but you could tell she was rolling her eyes.
I was a bit gutted when I found out I'm out of the country when this will be shown, but sounds like I won't be missed too much then!