Lost in Austen

Lost in Austen premiered Sunday night on ABC1

A thoroughly modern heroine threatens to ruin one of the world’s greatest literary love stories in this ingenious reinvention of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Hollywood actress Alex Kingston (ER; Croupier; Moll Flanders) stars alongside an acclaimed cast, including Hugh Bonneville (Notting Hill; Iris), Lindsay Duncan (Rome; Longford) and new Bond girl Gemma Arterton (St. Trinians; Quantum Of Solace).

Bored bank worker Amanda Price (Jemima Rooper – The Black Dahlia; As If; Hex) likes to escape from her unremarkable life and unromantic boyfriend by losing herself in the pages of period novel, Pride and Prejudice. Yet, by a strange accident she literally becomes lost in her favourite Austen book, after she finds a strange portal in her bathroom and swaps places with its heroine Elizabeth Bennet (Gemma Arterton).

Amanda’s journey begins right at the start of the tale, and as she gets to know the Bennet family, she encounters the famous Mr Darcy (Elliot Cowan – The Golden Compass; Alexander), and struggles to adjust to polite Regency society. Unwittingly, she also begins to change the book’s familiar plot, and with Darcy’s true love stuck in Amanda’s 21st century flat, how can she keep this celebrated romance on track?

I was so excited when I saw it advertised after hearing about it all over the internet for such a long time.  I had read both negative and positive reviews about it, and I started watching it with pretty low expectations.

It wasn’t bad but after I’ve seen the second part, I doubt I’ll want to watch it again for a long time.

For Lost in Austen to be more enjoyable, I think it needs to be funnier and Amanda to be more likeable (not that I dislike her).

I did like most of the casting though. 

Amanda PriceThere was, of course, Jemima Rooper (Wives and Daughters, Poirot) as Amanda Price, but I more want to comment on the actors who portayed existing charcters in Pride and Prejudice. 

Elliot Cowan (Foyle’s War, Alexander, Poirot, The Ruby in the Smoke, The Golden Compass, Happy-Go-Lucky) plays Mr Darcy and so far I really like him in the role.  He’s different to Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen, which I think is a good thing.

Mr Darcy

Gemma Arterton (St Trinian’s, RocknRolla, Tess of the D’urbervilles, Quantum of Solace) is Elizabeth Bennet.  She has barely been in what I have seen of Lost in Austen so far, but I guess she comes back in near the end.  Her Lizzy seems a bit different, but it’s hard to tell from so little screen time.  If my suspicions on this point prove to be correct, I think it probably has less to do with Gemma’s acting and more to do with the way the character was written.


Hugh Bonneville (Cadfael, Notting Hill, Mansfield Park, Madame Bovary, The Emperor’s New Clothes, Beau Brummel: This Charming Man, THe Vicar of Dibley, Miss Austen Regrets, Freezing) plays Mr Bennet, and is in some ways, I think, truer to the way Jane Austen wrote him than he is in proper adaptations of Pride and Prejudice.


Alex Kingston (Without A Trace, Freezing, Doctor Who, CSI, ER, SVU) is Mrs Bennet and I neither like her nor dislike her in the role.  She’s just alright.

Mrs Bennet






The other Bennet girls are good. 

Jane Bennet and Mr CollinsMorven Christie (Oliver Twist, The Young Victoria) is Jane and I do like her in the part, but I can’t help thinking that she’s not quite pretty enough and maybe not as sweet as she should be.

Ruby Bentall (Oliver Twist, Lark Rise to Candleford) is Mary.  They seem to have styled her very similarly to the way they styled Mary in the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice. 


Mary Bennet (Pride and Prejudice 1995)






Florence Hoath (Tom’s Midnight Garden) is Kitty. Lydia, Kitty, Mary and Jane Bennet






Perdita Weeks (The Tudors) is Lydia.  Interesting fact: Perdita is Honeysuckle Weeks‘ (Foyle’s War) sister.







 Mr Bingley is played by Tom Mison (Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Poirot, Lewis).  In this, he is portrayed as really quite stupid, but very likeable.











Caroline Bingley and Mrs BennetChristina Cole (What a Girl Wants, Foyle’s War, He Knew He Was Right, Marple, Jane Eyre, Casino Royale, Doctor Who, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Poirot) is Caroline Bingley.  I think this Caroline is a little flat.


Guy Henry (Lady Jane, Emma, Foyle’s War, Trial and Retribution, V for Vendetta, Midsomer Murders, Rome, Extras, John Adams, Spooks) plays Mr Collins.  When I was watching Lost in Austen, I kept trying figure who he Emma Woodhouse and John Knightleywas and where I’d seen him before.  Based on the preceding list, I’ve seen him in heaps of stuff before, but the one that stands out is Emma (1996), in which he played John Knightley. I loved him in that part!  Anyway, he is also great as Mr Collins – really creepy.


Michelle Duncan (Doctor Who, Atonement) is Charlotte Lucas.  Charlotte is Charlotte Lucasagain a little different to how we’ve seen her in other adaptations.  She is maybe a bit more feisty?


And finally we have Tom Riley (Marple, Freezing, Lewis, Poirot) as Mr Wickham.  I don’t think he has had much screen time, but so far, so good.Mr Wickham






There are other characters, but they are either too insignificant, uninteresting or they haven’t come into the story yet.  Maybe I will include them after I watch Part 2 (or episodes 3 and 4) this Sunday.

~ by vanityandpride on March 11, 2009.

6 Responses to “Lost in Austen”

  1. Please watch through to the end – it’s fantastic! I’m a particular fan of Tom Riley’s (Wickham) — he’s in more of the 2nd half and very much worth the wait.

  2. Yeah, I’m planning to and I’m actually looking forward to it. Te great thing about it is that I really have no idea how it is going to end; how all the loose ends are going to be tied up. I’ll be watching for Tom! and thanks for the comment.

  3. It gets crazier! And I would have liked a slightly different ending, but I can live with what they ended up doing. I’ll check back for your thoughts/comments after you’ve seen it all.

    Do you know they are making a feature film of Lost in Austen? Not sure why, but they are.

  4. Thats good that it all turns out alright.
    Yes, I have heard that they’re making a movie of LIA. It seemed strange to me, but I guess they think they can make some money out of it.

  5. a movie of it? great!
    this show actually got me into austen, and as a tom boy that is a great achievement

  6. Thats great, emma! I think the movie could actually turn out quite well and IMO, if it gets more people into Austen, as the Tv series has done for you, it can only be a good thing.
    Thanks for commenting.

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