Everybody's Talking About... Parade's End
Already hailed as the new Birdsong by critics, new five-part BBC costume drama Parade's End has everything we could hope for. There's a dashing English aristocrat (Benedict Cumberbatch) clinging to the past, his beautiful yet cold-hearted wife (Rebecca Hall) who may - or may not - have given birth to an illegitimate child, a feisty suffragette lover, debaucherous parties, stately homes and bodice-ripping affairs, all set against the social and political upheaval of the First World War. No wonder half the country is already hooked!
The first part of Sir Tom Stoppard's adaptation of British novelist, Ford Madox Ford's four-book masterpiece aired on BBC2 last Friday.
Opening as Edwardian England fades, aristocrat Christopher Tietjens (Cumberbatch) enters into a destructive marriage with cruel socialite, Sylvia (Hall). Although it's clear she has a complete disregard for his feelings, openly flirting with other men, he vows to remain faithful. Fearless young suffragette, Valentine (Adelaide Clemens) then demands his attention, crashing in to his life after ambushing a cabinet minister. Suddenly, Christopher is torn.
Obvious parallels have already been drawn with ITV favourite, Downton Abbey. In fact, some critics have gone so far as to say that Parade's End missed out on the Sunday teatime slot so it didn't have to go head-to-head with the third series of Downton. Whether or not that is the case, Parade's End is well worth staying in for.
Parade's End, Friday, 9pm, BBC2