What to watch on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

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Lost in Austen

itv London at 9:00pm (Other show times...)

Lost in Austen

This new four-part drama series offers a modern twist on period drama. In tonight's opener, Amanda (Jemima Rooper, pictured) has become increasingly bored and frustrated with modern life. She craves the world of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice - a world of courtship and romance, of bonnets and ballrooms.

One fateful evening, after a difficult day at work and a lacklustre marriage proposal from her boyfriend Michael (Daniel Percival), Amanda discovers Elizabeth Bennet (Gemma Arterton) in her bathroom. There is a door behind the bath that has been boarded up for years, which Elizabeth says leads through to her family home, Longbourn.

Amanda pushes the door and finds that it opens into a strange corridor. She climbs through the doorway, marvelling at where on earth she could be, when suddenly the door slams behind her, leaving Elizabeth in modern-day London and Amanda in Georgian England.

Amanda finds herself at the very beginning of the book. News of Mr Bingley's (Tom Mison, pictured) arrival at Netherfield Park has just broken. Scared and confused, she tries to work out what has happened to her.

Amanda introduces herself as "Lizzie's friend" and as such the Bennet family make her feel welcome. However, they do find her language, manners and clothes quite peculiar. Mrs Bennet (Alex Kingston) is especially suspicious of Lizzie's sudden disappearance and Amanda's arrival at Longbourn. Amanda resolves that she has to preserve this world as she found it, but inevitably the events of the book start to corrupt. Disaster strikes when Mr Bingley fails to notice his rightful love match, Jane (Morven Christie), and only has eyes for Amanda.

Soon Amanda finds herself dressed up to attend her first ball at the Assembly Rooms, where she must meet Mr Darcy (Elliot Cowan). But will he be everything she hoped and imagined he'd be? In a bid to calm her nerves, Amanda starts knocking back the punch and ends up getting drunk. Having humiliated herself in front of Mr Darcy, she decides to take some air where she meets Mr Bingley and, feeling so lonely, she drunkenly snogs him. How can things possibly get any worse, and how can she now get the love story between Mr Bingley and Jane back on course?

In a bid to recreate the events of the book, Amanda decides to send Jane off to Netherfield Park in the rain. In the novel, Jane gets soaked in the storm and is forced to recuperate at Netherfield, and that's when she and Bingley fall in love.

The storm is about to break, but how can Amanda get Jane to go to Netherfield? Amanda decides to lie and tells Jane that Mr Bingley has invited her; he would have asked Jane himself but he was too nervous. Amanda watches Jane set off on her horse, when Mary (Ruby Bentall) reveals that the last time Jane caught a cold she almost died. What has Amanda done?

Cast

Image for Jemima RooperJemima Rooper...Amanda Price
Image for Alex KingstonAlex Kingston...Mrs. Bennet
Image for Hugh BonnevilleHugh Bonneville...Mr. Bennet
Image for Tom RileyTom Riley...Wickham
Elliot Cowan...Darcy
Image for Gemma ArtertonGemma Arterton...Elizabeth Bennet
Perdita Weeks...Lydia Bennet
Image for Morven ChristieMorven Christie...Jane Bennet
Christina Cole...Caroline Bingley
Image for Lindsay DuncanLindsay Duncan...Lady Catherine de Bourgh
Michelle Duncan...Charlotte Lucas
Guy Henry...Mr Collins
Tom Mison...Bingley

Directed by

Dan Zeff

Written by

Guy Andrews
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