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Bits and Bobs (Vol. 15): The best (and worst) adaptations

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Downeysherlockholmes_l

Downeysherlockholmes_lI love screenwriter Andrew Davies, the Welsh adaptation guru who turned Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility into steamy hot man-fests for UK TV. My bestie Caroline, on the other hand, who teaches Victorian Literature at the University of Michigan, isn’t a real fan. Mention Davies’ recent Northanger Abbey (pictured, right), and she spits tacks. Apparently, Davies added some pretty silly dream sequences in which heroine Catherine Morland fantasizes about being, um, taken by a dude. It’s not for the purist, by any means. Hence Caroline balks when I want to watch an adaptation — except Bleak House, she loves Davies’ version — and I don’t blame her.

Why? Because just thinking about Guy Ritchie’s upcoming Sherlock Holmes movie makes my stomach ulcers bleed. It’s not that I don’t believe he’s up for it. Or that Robert Downey Jr. (pictured, left, on the set) isn’t the perfect Holmes — we know he can do British (Chaplin) and conflicted, now he just needs to be intellectual, obsessive, and mysterious. And Sunshine‘s Mark Strong, cast as baddie Lord Blackwood, is the bee’s knees. But I can’t help fearing that there’s a chance we’ll be privy to some totally anachronistic gunplay and terrible pop music that would make Sir Arthur Conan Doyle want to die all over again.

So, in a season when Miss Marple returns to ITV, Richard Curtis adapts Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, and Alan Moore’s Watchmen hits the big screen, it’s time we anglophiles talk about British adaptations. Is there one that drives you crazy? (Fever Pitch kills me.) Ones you’re particularly fond of? (About a Boy and Bridget Jones’s Diary are mine.) Or a book you’d love to see on screen? (I’d pick Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About or any of M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin mysteries.)

Mull those questions over, and then click through after the jump for your anglophile calendar for the week:

addCredit(“Downey: Harold Cunningham/FilmMagic”)

Monday (October 12): Check out bits from Eddie Izzard, et al in this year’s Secret Policeman’s Ball by subscribing to the iTunes podcast. Listen to new the new music on the British airwaves on Steve Harris’ Xfm show.
Tuesday: Keane‘s new album, Symmetry, hit stores. Icons of Horror (a collection of Hammer films) and the Hitchcock Premiere Collection (including remastered versions of The Lodger and Young and Innocent) drop.
Thursday: In case you missed it, the first episode of Gavin and Stacey season 2 becomes available on BBC America on Demand. Colin Farrell visits NBC’s Leno at 11:35 p.m.
Friday: The Catherine Tate Show returns to BBC America at 9:20 p.m.
Saturday: Adele plays NBC’s Saturday Night Live at 11:30 p.m.
Saturday: BBC America airs marathons of Little Britain at 3 p.m. and Worst Week of My Life at 5 p.m. The British comedy series Pulling begins airing on Sundance at 9 p.m. (Here’s a clip).

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