I don’t know what Easter break means for you, but for the Pearls it definitely involves screening movies on the plaster wall of our house in Italy. Yes, it’s a slightly bumpy image, but the optical distortion is usually corrected by the wine we are drinking. Two or three days of CGI-hyped action movies interwoven with bodice-heaving period drama (Poldark is this year’s hit) and my mind is truly —— blank. By day four, the brain starts up again and with no work to chew on it starts pondering more fundamental things. Like, for example, The Avengers.
It’s a really smart idea to lift five marvel comic superheroes (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow and The Hulk) out of their individual stories and plonk them all as co-stars in one blockbusting, hero-fest of a film. Multiplies the audience. Intensifies the story. But if Hollywood can do that, I find myself wondering, why can’t we do the same with our favourite costume dramas? Let’s amalgamate the best of Britain’s period protagonists into a collective strike force of linen, lace and lavender-scented kerchiefs to take on the titans at the box office. I think we’d would sweep the Oscars. But which beloved characters would earn a part? And why?
Here’s be the Pearl list. If thou canst do better, make yer suggestion in the comment box below. Arrr…
1. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Bennet
The heroine of Pride and Prejudice is a shoe-in for the Pearls. We love her. Her superpower? Irony and defensive use of subordinate clauses under attack (from Lady Catherine De Bourgh, of course).
2. Ross Poldark
The people’s choice, this. Beefcake love interest, yes. But let’s face it you do need someone who will gallop his horse along the cliff tops at all hours and in the face of danger strip his shirt off and start scything.
3. Dorcas Lane
Why Dorcas? First reason, the postmistress heroine of Lark Rise to Candelford, just has a super hero name! Second, a good action story always needs a “brainy” one to hack the mainframe and make sure the parcels arrive on time
You’re going to need a gnarled-endlessly-resourceful-retainer-character-with-a-rough-exterior-but-a-heart-of-gold. A tough choice here in our household, but the winner by a glottal nose chortle is the amateur sleuth who unpicks the mystery of Little Dorrit. (Played brilliantly by Eddie Marsan, by the way).
5. Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham
Aka Maggie. Or just “M”. Let’s face it, Downton Abbey’s Maggie Smith is the name that gets this film made. She’s got the pedigree. She’s got the hilariously dry one-liners. She’s got the ironic eyebrow. She can handle herself in a parasol fight. Pure cozzy drama royalty
Of course, the questions don’t end there. Who is going to be the evil mastermind against whom the Frocktastic Five are going to pit their combined wits? Dickens’ chillling Mr. Tulkinghorn? Poldark’s George Warleggan? And who will play their stooge? The noxious, preening Mr Collins? Mr “shake me up, Judy” Smallweed? The oafish Judd?
But that’s a whole other blog. And a whole other Easter break.