I got rather confused about this, because there’s a new Anne of Green Gables mini-series coming out, and I thought that this was the first episode of it … whereas in actual fact it was a one-off “TV film”. I hope the mini-series is as good as this, because this film was a wonderful adaptation of the first book in the series. Ella Ballentine was brilliant as Anne (although the red hair and freckles were very obviously fake – I’m sure they could have been made to look more natural!) and the rest of the cast were all very much true to the book. It followed the plot of the book very closely, and it came all across very well.
I was going to say that I was confused by Marilla having an Irish accent but, having done some research (I haven’t yet made it to the Maritime Provinces), I’ve found that the Prince Edward Island accent is very close to an Irish accent. So now I’m just wondering why everyone else didn’t sound Irish as well!
My one quibble was that Anne’s class at school sang “God Save The King”. That puts events into the reign of Edward VII (1901-1910). The book was published in 1908, which was indeed during Edwardian times, but, later on in the series, Anne’s grown-up sons and the sweetheart of one of her daughters go off to fight in the First World War. Anne’s nearly 50 when war breaks out, so she must have been at school in the 1870s. However, no-one’s quite sure when the earlier books are meant to be set, and it’s very unlikely that L M Montgomery wrote the first book with the intention of bringing the First World War into a book set nearly 40 years later! So never mind :-).
Oh dear, I feel so old now – it seems like about five minutes since I was watching the 1980s series, and reassuring my sister, who hadn’t read the books, that there was no need to worry, Anne and Gilbert would definitely end up together! Having read some of the previews of the forthcoming new series, which I gather is due to be shown in Canada at some point in 2017 and will hopefully been taken up by one of the British channels very soon afterwards, I’ve got a horrible feeling that it isn’t going to stick to the original storylines. Boo! So watch this film, and enjoy it. It’s great!