Jamaica Inn – BBC 1

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Thanks to the Famous Five, I’ve associated Cornwall with smugglers and wreckers from a pretty early age. See, it’s amazing what you can learn from the Famous Five books. However, I’m fairly sure that the Five never encountered anyone who went around committing mass murder on the beach (shame, really, because someone really should have murdered the horribly bossy Julian), nor did they ever come across a mad vicar who talked about human sacrifice. The issue of human sacrifice did actually come up in one of Enid Blyton’s books (seriously, it did), but not one set in Cornwall.

Anyway, I digress. Like the wonderful Henry Tilney, one of the most underrated heroes in fiction, I find that Gothic novels are quite entertaining provided that you don’t take them too seriously. I’m afraid that I’ve never read Jamaica Inn, so I can only go off what was in the BBC adaptation of it, but this version contained plenty of excitement – lots of bodies, a dashing young man (Manchester’s very own Matthew McNulty trying to sound Cornish), a feisty heroine (Mary Yellan is much more appealing than the second Mrs de Winter in Rebecca, who should just have sent Mrs Danvers packing and had done) and dramatic scenery. Admittedly there were some sound issues, largely due to that bloke from The Borgias who was playing Mary’s uncle mumbling most of his words, but I didn’t think they were nearly as bad as the press made out.

So – most people seem to be slating this, but I actually quite enjoyed it!

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