Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Georgette Heyer- Will the BBC or ITV take her on?

Georgette Heyer Venetia
It occurred to me after some late night Twitter action that there is a distinct lack of Georgette Heyer dramatization. Heyer wrote some absolutely cracking "Regency Romance" during the period of 1921-1972. An obvious fan of Jane Austen, she was a stickler for historical accuracy but also had a wonderful story telling ability.

Georgette Heyer Devil's Cub
If you have never cracked open one of her books, you have a lot of fun ahead of you. If you are already a fan then you probably wonder as I have, why she has been neglected by the venerable BBC and the upstart ITV networks who have done so well with their recent period dramas. Surely her books are ripe for adaptation to the screen! Shall we call Andrew Davies (Pride and Prejudice 1995, Wives and Daughters) now? Or do you think Sandy Welch (North and South, Emma 2009) would do a better job on the screenplays?

Georgette Heyer Regency Buck
If you think this is a good idea, please leave a comment below, along with your suggestion for the first of her works to be dramatized. I will list her Regency/Georgian novels below to help jog your memory as to which is your fave. And then I'll do some lobbying across the pond!


Thanks for your help, my wonderful readers! (And thanks to C. Allyn Pierson for planting the idea in my head via Twitter)

And here is what we have from 1959 my friends. Enjoy!

65 comments:

  1. I think Georgette was the first for many of us. I think it's a great idea!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would love to see Sylvester, Devil's Cub or a Convenient Marriage transformed in a movie or mini series. They are so much fun!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've only read a few, but I loved Devil's Cub as a teenager. Now my favorite is Cotillion, because it's oh, so funny, and a bit more realistic (sans duels and kidnappings, and falling in love with rakes, etc.). It would make a fantastic adaptation!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are a number of GH books that are favorites but I absolutly love Cotillion. For a while I re-read it every summer (it makes perfect hammock reading) and fall in love with Freddy every time even though he's definitely not the standard dashing rake or guardian type who is the usual hero.

      As a side note, at some point I happened to read one of Georgette's mystery novels and then had to buy all of those too to be read several times. Behold, Here's Poison is my favorite of that genre. I guess I must find the anti-hero types the most appealing. :)

      Kathy

      Delete
    2. Hi Kathy, I guess Cotillion is a leading contender. I think I should try some of her mystery novels too.

      Delete
  4. It's funny. Every time I read a new one my favorites list changes. I'm not sure which ones would translate well into film. I haven't read all her works yet, working on it. About half way done. I love the "Quiet Gentleman" and Arabella and sprig muslin and why shoot the butler?, I guess there's just too many to list. It may be kind of hard to get all her witty dialogue into film and that's what works for me. I've always wondered why there aren't more adaptations or updates of Bronte's works or gaskell. They are good the way they are but still it's a question.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I agree with suzan. It's the witty dialogue that really makes her book sparkle and it could be very difficult for them to translate it to film. It seems like there are a lot of factors that could go wrong - especially if you take the novels which are really more character studies. I think ones with a more intricate plot like "The Talisman Ring" would work better in film.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've wondered about this for years. So many of the novels would make terrific mini-series or movies. Some of them are hilarious, but many of them are also very tender and touching. My nominee for the first one: THE NONESUCH.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello all you Georgette Heyer fans! Just returned from a conference in NYC. I see everyone seems to have a different book to nominate for dramatization. I guess that means that it could be a series of films?

    As for Bronte and Gaskell adaptations, I'm always up for another. Villette or Mary Barton deserve some sort of film adaptation. They haven't been done since 1970 and 1964 respectively. But Georgette Heyer hasn't been touched since The Reluctant Widow and Arabella in the 1950s and the latter was in German!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Moorland Cottage is good but short (per Jenny's comment). Funny thing is I didn't even realize that there were film adaptations. I guess I've been a reader too long. That's one reason I love this site. Always something else to learn and view. And for Heyer's being done in the 1950's and German - well what is up with that? I think sometimes people neglect the fun, witty, feel good stuff because it may not draw as big of crowds. the more sensational gets attention but it's a shame because I for one can always use more laughs. I liked the mini-series idea. Heyer's mysteries are good also. The action starts immediately and as usual it takes to the very end to get the real culprit/s. Perhaps that's an avenue that could be explored since mysteries seem to abound.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Bezaubernde Arabella- translates as Charming Arabella and I'm not sure why the Germans latched onto this one! The Reluctant Widow is actually on YouTube so I have added it above. Boy do we need the BBC!

    I haven't read all of Mrs. Gaskell's work but I should read Moorland Cottage. Sounds good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As to 'Bezaubernde Arabella' (1959): I saw it once and need not to see it again.
      This film has nothing in common with the novel of Heyer - except the names of the protagonists :/.

      I really hope your petition is successfull.
      I yearn for a REAL Heyer-Film.

      Delete
  10. Dear Jenny:

    I believe that I can legitimately take credit for introducing you to Georgette Heyer all those long years ago ... I remember first hearing about them from a friend in University residence, and began reading them then (instead of studying for finals!). I must have brought them home at some point for you to read ... is that the way it happened or am I fictionalizing this?
    In any case, perhaps you should approach Richard Armitage for support in this campaign, as he has recorded three Georgette Heyer audio books (Sylvester, Venetia and The Convenient Marriage) and is very enthusiastic about her writing. Here is the link to Naxos Books, who have produced these audiobooks, (http://www.naxosaudiobooks.com/0022.htm) and there's a link on this page to a 4 minute podcast where Richard Armitage talks about how wonderful the language is in these books and that doing these readings he has been able to use his (wonderful) voice to convey these stories! Fantastic!
    I, too, am shocked that Georgette Heyer has not yet been mined as a source of material for costume dramas - considering her substantial fanbase (the fact that her books keep getting reprinted - with these latest lovely covers - is certainly an indication that there's an audience out there). Maybe Emma Thompson would be the one to choose a favourite and adapt it! Just a thought.

    Love,
    Big Sister

    ReplyDelete
  11. oh man i am so missing out - i adored North and South too much i think but both writers did an excellent job on the dramas you mentioned. life is short but not too short for a screenplay for each and then some...thanks big sister for getting little sister hooked?

    ReplyDelete
  12. I had a lovely moment just now listening to the mellifluous tones of Richard Armitage (thanks again to my sister). Yes, sis, you did get me into Georgette Heyer but it was a little later than university. It was Jeeves and Wooster that you got me hooked on in uni! Great minds think alike I suppose.

    By the way, I think I may have to buy one of those Heyer books on tape. 4 hours of Richard Armitage is sounding good to me!

    ReplyDelete
  13. is it possible to overdo a good thing? in this case i think it's worth the risk...RA stated that "trying to convey a story with just the words...is a challenge i possibly don't always succeed in" - what's that famous sound that Emma Thompson made in Sense and Sensibility?-that's my response in addition to everything sounds fine to me... (obviously i would not be a very good critic of his talents)...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like you were also drooling on your keyboard while listening to Richard Armitage. I'd love him to play the romantic lead in anything at this point. But the romantic lead in a dramatized Georgette Heyer novel? Heavenly!

      I'm not a very good critic either. RA can do no wrong.

      And I think Emma T's S&S sound was "Brrwaaahhhh!!!"- or something to that effect.

      Delete
  14. It must be the Devil's Cub. Period.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I think An Infamous Army would make a fantastic mini-series.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I would love to see a mini-series of a Georgette Heyer book (a film wouldn't do the characters justice) and I can't believe no one has done this yet!! The Grand Sophy, These Old Shades, Devils Cub or the Regency Buck would be my top 4, but to be honest there are so many great stories any of them would be fantastic, if well done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Donnaclair. I agree that a miniseries would be best. Who shall we petition?

      Delete
  17. I would just love, love, love to see Sylvester on screen - I think it has it all: great characters, plenty of wonderful dialogues and enough plot to make it a fast-paced mini-series!
    I so wish someone would do that!!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I would love to see some Georgette Heyer movies! I just read The Nonesuch and would enjoy seeing it in film. Also, The Grand Sophy and The Convenient Marriage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brooke we need to lobby BBC for Georgette Heyer films. Ideas?

      Delete
  19. The Convenient Marriage! Lots of action, great dialogue, compelling characters and settings. Perfect for a BBC production.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm baffled as to why this hasn't been done yet. I'd love to see Devil's Cub, but really, any of them would do.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I have been reading georgetter heyer for the past thirty-five years. I never tire of them. I have also never understood why films have not been made of her books. May that be rectified soon.

    Especially Devil's Cub and Faro's daughter and Arabella and all of them.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I've been re-reading Cotillion. I would love to see it made into a film. For some reason I thought it had been and was very disappointed to find out it hadn't.

    I can't read it without seeing a younger Hugh Laurie as Freddy, because of his wonderful Bertie Wooster.

    ReplyDelete
  23. GREAT IDEA!!!!

    Every time I see the feeled 10th-or-so screen adaption of 'Pride and Prejudice' I ask myself: "Why don't they referre to the rich corpus of Georgette Heyer. Instead of re-re-re-remake that of Jane Austen (and not for better)."
    Almost a fortnight ago I saw in german TV the remake of 'Persuasion' (2007). Flat as the plot was, I'd hardly identify it as a Jane Austen novel (if I'd didn't know it before;)).

    My first choices for film versions of Georgette Heyer would be:
    1: The Masqueraders (I adore Prudence!)
    2: Frederica
    3: Devil's Cup

    Many Greetings from Germany
    ladytramp

    P.S.: Please forgive my bad grammar and vocabulary! I havn't practise writing English for many years ;/

    ReplyDelete
  24. Georgette Heyer was apparently so disappointed by The Reluctant Widow film she decided not to allow any of her books to be dramatized. Her family are following her wishes in this now she's dead.
    I imagine the BBC and ITV would love to get hold of some Georgette Heyer but they're not allowed!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Apparently we are of the same mind... On Feb 8 I asked the same question on my blog! I Love the Masqueraders, Beauvalet, and Lady Sophy! I have read all of her books and would like to see anyone take these on and make a movie that does justice to these great books!
    Thanks for keeping this conversation going:)

    ReplyDelete
  26. As much as I love Jane Austen, the BBC or ITV could certainly branch out. Dame Dorothy Dunnett is also another Author I would like to see as a BBC/ITV mini series.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would also love to see the Miss Silver books by Patricia Wentworth.

      Delete
  27. I would love to see The Convenient Marriage as a series. It's my favorite.

    ReplyDelete
  28. They really should have her books as series or a movie you know- it'll be an instant hit! All my friends have read her works.
    I haven't read a lot of her titles, but I would love to see "A grand sophie", "convenient marriage","these old shades" , "reluctant widow", amongst others, dramatized. :) hope it happens soon.

    ReplyDelete
  29. The Convenient Marriage!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I think The Grand Sophie could be great as a film but I like all her books I've read so far.

    ReplyDelete
  31. It is hard to chose just one but I think perhaps The Talisman Ring. I reasons are these: She has so many books I would like to see dramatized therefore the first one they do has to be a hit. The Talisman ring has two love stories so those that do not identify with Sarah may with Eustacie or vice versa. There is also mystery and intrigue. No to mention that I think the dialogue is perhaps the wittiest of all her picks. And my husband loved this book so there is a shot at a male audience.

    For second and Third I'd say Regency Buck or Sylvester. Regency Buck because it is has the side story which will attract more than just the hopeless romantics and Sylvester because it happens to be my favorite (for today at least.)

    ReplyDelete
  32. These Old Shades with Benedict Cumberbatch as the Duke of Avon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, Stephen Fry is a big GH fan. I'd like to see this done properly with a 6 hour adaptation.

      Delete
  33. Every GH book is simply waiting to be brought to life by the BBC/ITV as no other could do justice to her works or other period drama authors. There isn't one GH book that wouldn't be perfect to adapt to film. As for my favourite -- I love them all.
    We must have new period drama on the screen and it must have the best of English production, actors, etc. to awaken a love for this genre by new generations.
    With much enjoyment we re-watch our beloved favourites (Pride & Prejudice, North & South, Jane Eyre, Wives & Daughters, etc.), but how much longer must we wait for new films and TV-series from the likes of GH to be made to melt our hearts.
    I always thirst to read and watch period drama. With so many wonderful period drama authors both past and present one wonders why we have to continue to wait til the TV & film industries finally wake and see the prize awaiting them.
    Bring back the romance of the past which leaves the present in the shade.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Firstly, I love Austen but absolutely ADORE Georgette Heyer - her books are wonderful and I never tire of them. I have just read Sylvester again, and all other Regency titles I have read at least twice. The Black Moth-These Old Shades-Devils Cub trilogy is a good one to start, but the Convenient Marriage was great also and had some hilarious characters. I have a slightly different viewpoint in terms of the movies - I am one of the few people who did not enjoy the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, as I found it dull and long (sorry). I personally prefer the Joe Wright movie version with Matthew McFadyen and I think this edgy approach and attention to intricate detail would be very well for Georgette Heyer, any of her books. My teenage daughters and I discuss this subject at length regularly, and we have decided that Michael Fassbender would make a wonderful Earl of Rule (Convenient Marriage), and we agree with the poster above that Benedict Cumberbatch would do the Duke of Avon brilliantly (that voice!). Richard Armitage would be fabulous as just about anyone. We had Rupert Friend in mind for the Marquis of Vidal (Devil's Cub, with his hair dark and his cheeks at their sharpest!). One thing I would not like to see, is them make a long and dreary, drawn out romance of these books - they are witty and fast moving and have excellent and clever characters. The side characters are particularly brilliant - like Sir Roland Pommeroy in Convenient Marriage, or Peregrine in Regency Buck, or Lord Wrotham, Ferdy and Mr. Ringwood in Friday's Child (hilarious!) - it is a pity Tom Hollander isn't still young looking, he would be excellent as any of those!
    All in all, I would love to see ANYONE do a set of films, these books are a wonderful resource and could extend to an excellent following, given her extensive fan base. The person taking this on would have to have a good sense of humour and respect for the detail that Heyer did - it isn't just a matter of copying the dialogue (in my opinion this can be the downfall of the BBC at time). With that said, the Tom Hardy version of Wuthering Heights was fabulous, as was the Michael Fassbender version of Jane Eyre (don't in conjunction with Focus features if memory serves) - when they get it right, they really get it right! Bring it on, we would be the first to see them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Sonia! Thanks so much for the wonderfully insightful comment on bringing Georgette Heyer to the screen. I adore your casting ideas! By the way, we have almost 800 signatures on the petition for a Heyer film. I wonder who we should send it to when we get to 1000 names. Ideas??

      Delete
  35. I SO wish "The Convenient Marriage" was a movie.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I wrote an entire script for Faro's Daughter a few years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  37. The BBC did two audio versions on their Radio 4 -- of Friday's Child and Regency Buck.

    Not sure why a petition would matter when the family is against it. I'm not saying this to be cruel, but it's a legal issue.

    I love Georgette Heyer's books, but I'm also in publishing, although I know little about permissions and estates.

    The point of having an author's estate is to protect the author's wishes as well as his/her stories.

    You could ask the family what their feelings are on plays. But if Georgette clearly stated that she wanted no dramatization on stage or screen, then you're sunk.

    The BBC may have found that she had no preference on radio versions...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't believe there is a total ban on filming her books. Scuttlebutt has it that at least one of her books had film rights granted but no film has ever been made since the 1950s. I think if it is known what a large audience there already is...money talks! My petition is already over 1000 names from all over the world, and in the meantime I just keep rereading her wonderful books. Speaking of which, a film would drastically improve book sales for whoever is receiving royalties on her book sales. Again, sadly it usually comes down to profit and bottom lines.

      Delete
  38. All of them!! :) Okay, but what about Venetia??? I loved that book!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I have all of her regency novels and her crime stories. The planners at BBC and ITV are missing so much here by not televising them. Instead we have to put up with rubbish like "X Factor" and "Come Dine With Me". Georgette Heyer's books are well written and very readable. I would love to see Venetia on tv. Planners please note!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Clad in his customary black and silver, with raven hair unpowdered and elaborately dressed, diamonds on his fingers and in his cravat, Hugh Tracy Clare Belmanoir, Duke of Andover, sat at the escritoire in the library of his town house, writing.

      He wore no rouge on his face, the almost unnatural pallor of which seemed designedly enhanced by a patch set beneath his right eye. Brows and lashes were black, the former slanting slightly up at the corners, but his narrow, heavy-lidded eyes were green and strangely piercing. The thin lips curled a little, sneering, as one dead-white hand travelled to and fro across the paper.

      Delete
  40. I would love to see them do 'these old shades', 'devils cub', 'recency buck' and 'an infamous army' as they are continuing storylines /or tie together for the last book.
    But I also love so many of the other books I really wouldn't mind what one was chosen first!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Every year I look to see if any book has been dramatized and alas I find none . I would love - Convenient marriage / Friday's Child or Cotillion ,

    ReplyDelete
  42. I would kill to see These Old Shades with Richard Armitage as Justin and Aidan Turner as Rupert

    ReplyDelete
  43. I would love to see Regency Buch, The Grand Sophy or the Unknown Ajax made as long as they were made well

    ReplyDelete
  44. This summer I read my first Heyer novel (Arabella...LOVED it!), and my first thought after reading it was, if she wrote so many novels why on Earth has BBC not adapted them for screen??? I have now read 4 of her books, and each time I find a new favorite. I love them all! Of the 4 I have read, Black Sheep would be so fun on film, but I alsofound Arabella so hilarious (the scenes with the dog kill me!). Really, I'd be happy with any of them on film!

    ReplyDelete
  45. If we all write to Polly Hill, the new controller of drama at the BBC, perhaps she will be needle witted enough to set in motion a production or two of our favourite Heyer regency or thrillers. I know Susie Conklin (from the team who brought us Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle) was working on Heyer adaptations a few years ago. She should be persuaded to continue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous! The BBC might actually be on this one! If you know how to contact Polly Hill, let us know! http://janeaustenfilmclub.blogspot.ca/2015/11/the-grand-sophy-film-georgette-heyer.html

      Delete
  46. These old shades followed by devil's cub would be a great start and I'm sure appeal to a wide audience...then take it from there...I think after the success of cranford, downton and period dramas in general...we love them here and I there are some great actors and actresses - goodness I would love to be involved in casting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wouldn't casting a Georgette Heyer be fun!

      Delete
  47. Fairly new to her novels, But I would love to see Cotillion in a film adaption.

    ReplyDelete
  48. senz'altro "Il cucciolo del diavolo"

    ReplyDelete
  49. LOVE Georgette Heyer! No one does historically accurate witty dialogue like her. Cotillion, Sylvester, Fridays child or Frederica would be my choices.

    ReplyDelete

ShareThis

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails