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Archive for November 21st, 2008

Shown on Channel Four this week, I sat down to watch “The Devil’s Whore” with a great deal of interest. My next novel is about the English Civil War and having invested so much research into it, I was curious to see how Channel Four dealt with it. Was it going to be something along the lines of “The Tudors” with bed-hopping and implausible history, or was it actually going to try to portray the English Civil War, a period that is rarely wheeled out on television.

Well, the jury is still out, really – part one was rather breathtakingly speedy. We started in “Whitehall 1638” where our “heroine” Angelica Fanshawe is about to be bedded by her new husband, cousin and childhood best friend) Harry Fanshawe.  Then, with a brief glimpse of the King’s brutality to those who oppose him, we are whisked away to Edgehill, the first battle of the war (which actually took place four years later…) and there’s a great deal of building of sexual tension between the mercenary Edward Sexby (no, not made up!) and Angelica Fanshawe, and leading us along to show us why Angelica goes bad.

Without spoiling it more than I have, all I can say is that it was very enjoyable, although I hope the pace slows down a little – and the camera-work in particular needs a standing ovation. Like many Channel Four series and films, it’s a masterpiece of light and posing – almost every shot is an oil painting. (as you can see by the header alone) The clothes are spectacular, and if you are a period clothes whore like me, you’ll enjoy them particularly.

The battle scenes tried their best, bless ’em – but they couldn’t possibly give the feel of the slaughter without a film-style budget. The canon smoke was the wrong colour for a start, and they could have done a little better if they’d showed what went wrong at Edgehill and why – it would have explained a lot more to people who didn’t know the history. The aftermath of the battle was nicely done though, dead bodies everywhere, which is how it would have been.

Anyway – if you didn’t see it, make an effort to catch it, or look out for the DVD when it comes out, as it looks like it’s shaping up to be something rather special.

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