Sunday, September 07, 2008

Lost In Austen Episode 1

Meet Amanda Price (Jemima Rooper), bored with her job, her boorish boyfriend and generally jaded with life. There's nothing she likes better than curling up with a good book (and half a pint of wine) and losing herself in the world of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Then one night after a drunken proposal from her boyfriend, Amanda while chewing on a piece of toast and possibly contemplating moving and not telling her boyfriend, hears a sound in her bathroom, arms herself with rolled up copy of Heat and discovers a night capped young woman pawing her underwear. It transpires that the young lady is Elizabeth Bennet (Gemma Arterton), who has travelled through a door from her house to Amanda's bathroom. Before much more can be discovered Amanda's boyfriend calls out which distracts her momentarily so when she looks back, Elizabeth is gone.
Amanda seems a little obsessed with Pride and Prejudice; in a visit to her Mum's (Pippa Hayward, who appears to have an problem with untidiness and paint pot samplers) she explains that it is the regency period that is so vividly described, the mores and manners, which beguile her. Her Mum sighs and gloomily states that Amanda's ideals probably won't be able to help her into her coat when she's seventy.

When Amanda gets home she discovers a transfixed Elizabeth in the bathroom turning on and off the mirror light. Amanda tries to explain that she is real and Elizabeth is fictional, but Elizabeth proves her that her "fleshly envelope" is as valid as Amanda's by telling her an obscure historical fact and then showing her the door into her world.
Amanda quickly hops through the door into Elizabeth's house, all wooden floors and lit by flickering candles and gasps in wonder at it. A door at the end of the corridor opens and a servant bustles through, Elizabeth smiles at Amanda as the door closes of it's own volition and Amanda is trapped on the other side as the door is closed and seeming fastened shut.
After frightening Mr. Claude Bennet (Hugh Bonneville) into dropping his books by hoving into view on the servants stairs, Amanda is ushered into his study and the story, that Amanda is Lizzie's long standing friend and that she is gone to visit Amanda in Hammersmith, is quickly concocted. Mr. Bennet after a very brief interview then exhorts Amanda to take Lizzie's bed for the night.
The following morning Amanda is woken by of Mrs. Bennet shrieking somewhere in the house and then is startled by the appearance of Lydia (Perdita Weeks) sharing her bed. Amanda gets somewhat overwrought about her situation and displays her "pubic topiary" to an astonished Lydia.

At breakfast Amanda 21st century attire is explained away as an otter hunting outfit which seems to satisfy the rest of the house. Mr. Bennet himself seems to acknowledge that Hammersmith is an "otter strewn thoroughfare".
Breakfast is interrupted by the arrival of Mr Bingley (Elliot Misen) who is being simpered at by Mrs. Bennet (Alex Kingston). All the Bennet girls, plus Amanda are ushered into to meet him, with apologies for Elizabeth's absence. Amanda is alarmed to notice that Bingley seems more enamoured with her than Jane (Morven Christie). Amanda then improvises a story about Lizzie wanting to write a book and travelling to Hammersmith to get the requisite peace and quiet to do so, much to the horror of Mrs. Bennet.

Amanda is loaned a few of Lizzie's dresses, for there are no otter to be hunted in the neighbourhood and Amanda encourages Jane by telling her that Bingley was very taken with her. Upon asking to brush her teeth, Jane points out the Birch twigs, chalk and salt to Amanda's consternation and leaves Amanda bemusedly holding the twigs and wishing she'd brought her toothbrush with her.
Bingley asks his sister Caroline (Christina Cole, who is the actress of choice when you want a bitch in a bustle) if she wants to go to church, Caroline declines and instead manages to get Bingley to stay at home to play cards with her, which he does reluctantly.
Amanda meanwhile traipses to church with the Bennet's and meets Charlotte Lucas who introduces herself shyly and then drops a clanger by mentioning that she speaks to Lady Ambrose, who just so happens to be a pig.
A ball has been arranged and the Bennet sisters and Amanda (who applies her extra bit of lucky lippy in the carriage much to the disapproval of Mrs. Bennet) are overwhelmed by the jollity. Amanda then spends much of her time availing herself of the punch and getting sarked at by Caroline Bingley.
Amanda despite her best efforts, gets asked to dance by the smitten Mr. Bingley and Amanda in a desperate effort to get the story back to its original course declines and says she's already engaged to dance with Mr. Darcy. Bingley calls over to Darcy, and at first a stout little red faced man appears to be about to totter over, when a tall, well dressed man revolves and takes all the puff out out of Miss Price with a single smoulder.
And doesn't he just he just look regency! He might have wandered in off the cover of a Mills and Boon. I don't like the wig though.

Darcy and Amanda begin to dance and Amanda quite reasonably doesn't know how to and doesn't so much dance as copy everyone else while remaining at least three beats out of time. She attempts vainly to engage Darcy in conversation, but he answers only peremptorily and doesn't disguise his dislike of her. At the end of dance he stalks off leaving an annoyed Amanda, who trudges outside for a crafty cigarette and then when Bingley turns up, plants a kiss on his surprised fizzog.

She then attempts to put right her impertinence by professing that she is a lesbian, leaving the reeling Mr. Bingley in an attractive state of confusion.

Mrs. Bennet corners Amanda at the ball and in no uncertain terms warns her not to scupper any of her daughters chances at matrimony. Alex Kingston who doesn't have much to do but shake her curls neurotically, obviously relished the chance to get her teeth into a scene and consequently Mrs. Bennet is one of the more interesting characters in the programme.
The following day Amanda encourages Jane to visit Bingley and dispatches her in the rain on a horse. Mary relates how Jane almost died of "the Grippe" last time she got a cold and panics Amanda into rushing headlong across country after her. This sets Mrs. Bennet into another flurry as she believes that Amanda is trying to usurp Jane in Bingley's affections and her finger-wagging remonstrations to Mr. Bennet are rebuffed in Mr. Bennet's inimitable way.
We end with bedraggled Amanda dragging herself through some bushes and aiming for Netherfield.
All in all, a fun twist on the story. It's evident that Amanda is an Elizabeth substitute and her astonishment at Darcy's rudeness at the ball a direct comparison to Elizabeth's first encounter with Darcy. Jemima Rooper is a thoroughly modern Amanda and Darcy, so far, is elegantly rude. Mr. Bingley it seems, is genetically mainly spanial and Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are utterly brilliant, as are Hugh Bonneville and Alex Kingston.

Gemma Arterton as Elizabeth is wasted in a minuscule role and though it would be fun to see Lizzie's adventures in modern day otter strewn Hammersmith, the show wisely remains in the Regency period and besides she's probably still in the bathroom playing with the light.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Always a girl who wants to try new things (within reason), I thought I wander off to the opera, but could I find anyone to go with me? Well no...most people looked at me as if I were daft in the head. It's not that outlandish an idea is it? Anyway, having enjoyed Alex Jennings in Present Laughter, I thought I'd make the most of a rare singing role and see him in Candide, by Leonard Bernstein at the ENO in London. And yes, I had to go by myself, oh well, it's cheaper I suppose.

Up I get on Saturday morning and wonder why on earth everything seems in such sharp focus at this ungodly time, and then I remember, I forgot to take my contact lenses out the night before! I dimly remember the optician telling me that if I did this I shouldn't attempt to remove the lenses myself, I should either go to the opticians or the eye hospital to get them to do it otherwise my eyeballs would explode and dribble down my face. Not wanting to spend all day at eye casualty (which brings to mind a horrible vision of a waiting room of people with things protruding from eye sockets) I squirted some saline into my eye and rubbed gently, which is all the optician would have done anyway, and out popped the lenses pretty easily, eye ball still in one piece and still in my socket thankfully. Oh well it's a glasses day today then.

The ENO is based at the Coliseum in London and it's lovely, it looks like a proper theatre with gilt and statues.
Yes, I know I'm an idiot, but the surroundings were so lovely that I couldn't gloss over them with no comment. A 360 degree virtual tour of the auditorium can be found here.

The set is a huge proscenium filling 50's TV set, and the overture plays over a jaunty 50's style credit sequence which I loved! Why don't all plays have animated credits? Then the images of booming 1950's America take over, Elvis Presley, JFK, white picket fences, it's easy to imagine the post war optimism of that era and how infectious it was.
Then a Voltaire (Alex Jennings) in 18th century period costume walks out onto the platform in front of the TV and begins the story of Candide (Toby Spence) who was cast out of his home in West Failure (the White House) and away from his true love Cunegonde (Marnie Breckinridge) and forced to trudge the world, but doing so incredibly optimistically, for he slavishly remains true to his tutor Dr Pangloss' (Alex Jennings again) philosophy that "all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds". And er, that's about it. The plot is simply Candide being optimistic and searching for Cunegonde, and no one ever dies properly, they keep coming back to life improbably, but I don't suppose opera's are noted for their true to life verite outlook.
On his travels, he meets Anabaptist's, one buttocked Old Ladies and almost fatally the House Committee on Un-American Activities, with a jaunty chorus of KKK, no really. Cunegonde's family is killed and she is left for dead by the invading Eastphalians, after being nursed back to health by a kindly farmer, she makes her way to the big city where she beguiles, OK, seduces two opposing film producers and they set her up as a starlet in the Marilyn Monroe mould, to the extent that "Glitter And Be Gay" is an homage to Marilyn's "Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend".

Candide "rescues" Cunegonde by shooting dead the two producers and they then along with an Old Lady with only one buttock, they escape to the New World.

The music is glorious and the lyrics are extremely witty and funny and the singing I did find impressive, Toby Spence has a warm rich voice and Marnie Breckenridge brought the house down with "Glitter And Be Gay", but the thing about operatic singing is that it's sometimes hard to make out the what they're saying, especially as I'm not familiar with the story or the music. By the time you realise you didn't recognise what was said, you've missed the surtitle and then you miss the next sung line because you've only just stopped trying to make out the surtitle.

Beverly Klein (The Old Lady) and Alex Jennings don't have that problem because they aren't opera singers (just plain old normal singers, but even when compared to opera singers, very good singers) so you can make out their lyrics easier.

Toby Spence was lovely, he sang wonderfully, but seemed a little aloof, probably because none of the characters really came to the front of the stage, they mostly stayed quite well back at the middle or back of the stage, which meant that they didn't engage very well with the audience. No doubt why Alex Jennings got such praise for his engaging presence, you have to be if you're teetering on the edge of the orchestra pit.

While Alex was on stage most of the time as either Voltaire or Dr Pangloss it was mostly standing at either side of the TV frame as Voltaire waiting for his next piece of narration. He was a nerdy sounding Pangloss and a snarly, rough comic Martin. His was the most assured performance along with Beverly Klein, who was the funniest character by far.

Her turn as a Vegas showgirl was no doubt funny, but I only saw a few feathers on top of her head, because the director in his wisdom decided to place spectators onstage, unfortunately right in front me.
The front row is a lovely place to sit except because of the frame, you can't see the stage floor, so if any character is lying down, you can't see them. It seemed poor Candide was gloomily serenading his own feet at more than one point. Also I always feel slightly uncomfortable sitting at the front, because I get afraid that the actors can see me.

When Voltaire changed into Pangloss, he would jump up onto the stage and then remove his Voltaire costume to reveal the blazer and tie of Pangloss. Every time Pangloss made an appearance his costume got dirtier and more worn, till by the end he looked quite bedraggled.

The only dull note of the entire show was the five deposed Kings section, nobody interacts with them, they just sing and look faintly disturbing in their masks and swimwear, Pangloss and Candide just shrug at each other after their song as if to say, what was that all about? At this point I got a bit bored and started to stare at the back of Pangloss and Candide's heads, they were watching the Kings, then I moved onto watching the conductor, then the audience, and then if I leaned forward a little I could see into the orchestra pit and watch the musicians. Very interesting. I was relieved when that song was over.

Mark Stone played each incarnation of Maximilian with great relish. He looked like he thoroughly enjoyed every part, from a Mormon, to man dressed up as a character from Some Like it Hot, through to a Vegas policeman.
Marnie Breckenridge sang "Glitter and be Gay" superbly, at least to my philistine ears, I wouldn't have noticed if she mangled every second note, but I came out and hummed it (badly) for days afterwords, so it definitely left an impression. This was the high point of the show for me, the music and choreography were perfect and sentiments of the song were perfectly illustrated by Cunegonde festooning herself in jewels.

The dancers and the chorus also need kudos, the company sang fantastically and danced imaginatively and impressively. Also the Auto-da-fe song is horribly catchy, I hummed that all the way home!

I loved this show and enjoyed the performances and everyone who declined to come with me, missed a treat!

My eye on the other hand is currently red and weeping has a tendency to glue itself shut if I close it for too long, chloramphenicol is being liberally applied.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Much Ado About Nothing

I went to see Much Ado About Nothing at the National Theatre about a month and a half ago and I've only just gotten round to blogging about it! I blame having to work weekends for the last month.

I'd been quite excited about going and seeing the play until about the week before, when the realisation that it was three hours (!) long and Shakespeare hit me. I'm not clever enough for that! I'll fall asleep, start snoring and get asked to leave, oh why did I book the tickets! My friend managed to catch the theatre-fear from me and both of us were less than enthusiastic about the play by the time we got there. As usual (due to circumstances beyond my control) I'm late and when we presented our tickets to the ushers, they said: "the plays just started" and hared off down the corridor, my friend and the usher sprinting away and leaving me to gallumph along in their wake. The only consolation I had was that another pair of theatre goers arrived at the same time and were directed at a hasty speed in the other direction. I'm at least not the only late comer.

What I hadn't realised was that the cheap seats at the side don't have a Row A, or they were removed for the stage and the seats that I had bought were in fact the front row which just made being late all the more excruciating, at least we were at the end of a row and didn't have to climb over everyone. Didn't stop the looks of disapproval though.

Anyway, the main roles of Beatrice and Benedick are taken by Zoe Wanamaker and Simon Russell Beale respectively and both were marvellous. Beatrice and Benedick love each other, but they don't want to admit it. They meet again after a long period of separation in which time Benedick has become an accomplished and respected soldier and Beatrice has comfortably settled into life living in her Uncle Leonato's house in Sicily and spends most of her time moderately tipsy.

Beatrice's cousin Hero (sweetly played by Susanna Fielding) falls in love with the dashing soldier Claudio (Daniel Hawkford). The soldiers are warmly welcomed and well fed by the generous Leonato (the wonderful Oliver Ford Davies), but the malevolent Don John (a villainous and brooding Andrew Woodall) is sullen and miserable because his brother Don Pedro (Julian Wadham) is an imperious and successful soldier. He envies his brother's power and is bitter at his own illegitimacy and so plots to ruin Don Pedro's most recent arrangement, the romance between Hero and Claudio, by casting aspersions on Hero's good character.

Meanwhile Bendick and Beatrice are sniping at one another at the masked ball and slowly realising that they still have feelings for each other. These are skillful and nuanced performances from both Zoe Wanamaker and Simon Russell Beale: warm, full and subtle. Benedick and Beatrice are both too obtuse to realise that the other still has feelings for them, but the other characters are quick to notice the resurgent emotions and decide to play at Cilla Black. In the morning in the garden by the pool, Benedick is having breakfast when he hears Don Pedro, Leonato and Claudio fast approaching, he hides, but the other men know he's there and besides the portly Simon Russell Beale is hard to miss, especially when trying to hide behind a 3 inch wide wooden pillar.

The Much Ado set revolves and during the ball scenes and the merriment at the end, while the actors are dancing, the floor is moving, not only that, the front row afforded a perfect view of the fact that occasionally the actors would have one foot on the revolve and one on the fixed stage. How did they not fall over? I have trouble even walking in flat shoes, so their admirable ability to frolic in these conditions is to be commended.

The men loudly exclaim that Beatrice is still madly in love with Benedick, all the while prowling about the stage forcing Benedick from one hiding place to another, when suddenly Benedick is stuck, he can't go anywhere without being caught eavesdropping, except one, the pool. So with a mighty splash, he actually cannonballs into the pool, to much incredulity and suppressed mirth from the others. Once the men leave, Benedick emerges from the pool looking like a seal and flops wetly about the stage wondering to himself if Beatrice does truly love him. Finally he wanders off happily to dry off before he dies of hypothermia and leaves the stage open for Beatrice to have the same trick pulled on her by the women of the house, even down to the dousing in the pool.

Poor Zoe Wanamaker has to heave around her sopping wet dress of many authentic layers which has, like a sheet of Bounty kitchen roll, soaked up the entire pool. Off she lurches to get wrung dry by an industrial mangle.

The plot to ruin Hero is hatched by Borachio (robustly played by Daniel Poyser) and has Don John's approval. The plan is for Borachio to canoodle with his lover Margaret (Niki Wardley) and pretend that it's actually the faithless Hero with her lover and on the night before her wedding too.

On the morning of the wedding, Hero twitters about happily and Beatrice sneezes and snuffles about, her cold appears to disappear very quickly as it's totally gone by the time the wedding begins.

All the main players are assembled for the wedding, though you would have thought that a society wedding for Leonato's daughter would've attracted more than a few Italian dignatories, but oh well. Claudio rejects a tearful and screeching hero and storms off followed by the rest of the soldiers bar Benedick who solemnly starts talking to Beatrice after Hero is taken away. The scene culminates in the "Kill Claudio" line, and despite exhortations to murder not being particularly funny, it got a laugh. Benedick is torn between his love for Beatrice and wanting to please her and his own sense of honour and decency.

Dogberry and Verges the Watchmen are played with comic brilliance by Mark Addy and Trevor Peacock. Peacock for example can grunt non commitally and get a round of applause and Mark Addy's circular speeches and constant contradictions bring a much needed obvious humour to the play.

Hero feigns her own death much to the consternation of Claudio who prostrates himself at her fake grave clad in sackcloth, mmm, scratchy, while a concealed Hero watches his distress and is now certain of his love. Their story ends when it is contrived for Claudio to marry Hero's cousin, who looks a lot like her.

Beatrice and Benedick after some more comic sniping kiss and settle down comfortably together on a bench, happy at last.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cranford Episode Five

Ok, it is incredibly late, but here is the final Cranford recap. I doubt any breath has been bated over it, but sorry if you did wonder where it was.

For once there a happy ending in sight for a Cranford female: Martha has overcome Jem's slightly less than enthusiastic desire for marriage and has snared her man, not that he minds too much about being snared at last.

Mary and Matty welcome them home from the church with a hail of rice and huge grins! Martha leads Jem into the kitchen and begins to bustle around to get Miss Matty's dinner on, not forgetting her pudding, lest Miss Matty fade away. Jem looks distinctly disheartened by this news having had something else far more traditional for newly weds in mind, instead Martha seats the sulky Jem by the corner of the fire to brood attractively.
Mr Carter visits Harry in the stables to gift him a book of poems, but Harry mindful of his new lower position in the household studiously ignores him and continues to shovel the dirty hay into a barrow. Mr Carter quietly withdraws, but slips the book into Harry's pocket for later.
Mary goes to visit Dr Harrison and finds him in dire straits, not only is he waxy faced and dishevelled, Mrs Rose has left him to fend for himself and she's taken all her furniture with her. All Dr Harrison has left is the sewing table (that caused all the trouble), a small chair and an attractive tea set. The cups are so hugh, they're like troughs! Or maybe the cups are a normal size and Lisa Dillon and Simon Woods are small!
Dr Harrison asks after Sophy, only to be ruefully told that she's gone to visit an Aunt, in Shropshire.

Miss Galindo has arrived for work and cheerily bids Mr Carter a good afternoon! Good afternoon!? Either she's late or that's flexi time gone mad. Despite her tardiness, Mr Carter returns her felicitation and gets on with reading his mail, from which he surmises correctly that Miss Galindo has removed the deeds to the estate and allowed Lady Ludlow to mortgage it, against his better judgement and advice. He angrily storms off to hold Lady Ludlow to account and to suggest that there were better ways of economising: selling some land to the railway, or reducing the head count of her staff perhaps, does she really need one man to wind her clocks?

Lady Ludlow in her imperious and aristocratic manner refutes any such idea of economy, truthfully stating that she has a great many clocks, and besides Will Jones, clock winder extraordinaire is mute and would struggle to find another job and would probably end up in the Workhouse. Lady Ludlow, though cold and haughty, is bound by a sense of duty to her staff and tenants, already evinced by her intercession into Job Gregsons' wrongful imprisonment.
Mary and a select few others have been summoned to Miss Forrester's by a missive marked Confidential and posted by hand. The meeting, presided over by a comically formal Miss Pole, is called to order with a small bell and concerns Miss Matty's dire financial predicament. The ladies have come to the decision that they will secretly ease Miss Matty's grim circumstances by each donating a small amount of money that they each can spare. This money is to be presented in such a manner, with the aid of Captain Brown, that it should appear to be Miss Matty's "proper due", and that she should not know that the money came from her friends. Also the Miss Tomkinsons will settle the Mr Godard, the butcher's bill of 10 shillings as they are also customers of his.
Mrs Forrester rushes after Mary at the end of the meeting and tearfully begs Mary not to think badly of her for her small donation, as she has so little to live on and then goes on to recount why she holds Miss Matty in such high regard. When they were both younger and Mrs Forrester's mother was dying, Miss Matty though having just refused Mr Holbrook's offer of marriage, still had the time and compassion to ask after Mrs Forrester's mother and comforted the young Mrs Forrester when she cried. Julia Mackenzie has brought a finely judged comic edge to Mrs Forrester so far and in this scene her heartfelt sorrow, at not being able to contribute more to the Save Miss Matty fund, gushes out.
Dr Morgan has suggested that Dr Harrison, or the Cranford Casanova as I like to think of him, ought to start his practice elsewhere as due to the scandal of, erm Casanovering, or alleged Casanovering, has had his reputation shot to pieces and in a town like Cranford, such scandal is the death knell for any budding medical professionals.

Miss Matty is being lied to by her friends, for her own good, but lied to nevertheless. Miss Matty is presented with the idea that she might set up a school, but has no confidence in Mathematics, French, Accomplishments (?) or the Globes, at which point Captain Brown states that perhaps she ought to go into trade, and Miss Matty thankful that tea is not sticky (as she has a revulsion of residues) aquiesces. But not before asking Mr Johnson if he minds the competition.
Mr Godard is being exhorted to tell Miss Matty that due to an error in the butchery accounts her 10 shillings are no longer outstanding to which the hale fellow that is Mr Godard agrees, adding that Miss Matty was compassionate when his wife died. Caroline, then asks about Mr Godard's twins and upon the utterance of the word "pork", appears to fall madly in lust with the butcher.
Mary has received a letter from Dr Marshland and upon recognising his doctors scrawl comes to the conclusion that he was the mischievous Valentine sender and goes to the Miss Tompkinsons for corroboration.
Having absorbed some of Miss Deborah's resolve and tenacity, Mary now writes a stern letter to Dr Marshland admonishing him for his humourous wickedness and commanding him to resolve the mess that he has created.

When rushing to catch the postman, Mary catches sight of Sophy returning from her Aunt's looking sickly and pale. Though Mary rushes to say hello, Reverend Hutton bundles his unwell daughter onto the carriage and zooms home.
Dr Morgan and his wig have made the diagnosis of love sickness (not a diseased heart as plainly worried Reverend Hutton feared) and claims that it will soon pass as long as the Reverend lavishes not only affection on his daughter, but also plenty of eggs. Reverend Hutton doesn't look very confident of Dr Morgans prescription, but glumly accepts it and walks Dr Morgan out.
Dr Harrison alas has been commanded not to be allowed to see Sophy and the door is shut in his face by the Huttons housekeeper.
Mr Carter comes to call on Miss Galindo, not so much proferring a bunch of flowers, more holding on to them for grim death. Miss Galindo only rescues them by inventing a fear that the flowers will stain Mr Carters spotless cuffs.

This part of the show was when I started to get a bit tearful when rewatching the programme for the screencaps. Mr Carter and Miss Galindo make such a lovely couple, neither in the first flush of youth, but each with an independent mind and cautious heart.
They talk of Lady Ludlow and her obstinance and sense of duty. Mr Carter tells Miss Galindo that the mortgage could have been avoided as he has some money gathering dust and interest in the bank, a fortune amassed by his investment in a cotton mill. The disgust that the mill engendered in him, of young children working in the very dangerous mill, caused him to recoup his investment and now the money lies fallow and he is loath to touch it.

Miss Galindo and Mr Carter understand and cleave to each other, a feeling of solidarity created by their shared concern for Lady Ludlow and the understated attraction of two lonely souls.
Miss Matty has opened her shop and is besieged with customers, though dissuades any customer from purchasing green tea and deftly manipulates a facillating Caroline Tomkinson into buying two pounds of black tea instead, ably assisted by the energetic Mary.
Mary comes to call on Sophy and starts to tell her of Dr Harrison's innocence, when Mary notices that Sophy is burning up with fever and covered in a livid red rash.
Dr Morgan states that Sophy has Typhoid fever and Reverend Hutton is visibly shocked at the news, going so far as to baldly state if Sophy will die, Dr Morgan evades the answer.Dr Marshland has been stirred onto action by Mary's stern letter and has finally appeared to make amends and spends the morning apologising through Dr Harrison's letterbox, not getting a response until he mentions that Sophy is ill and then the door is flung open by a panicked Dr Harrison asking if he is being sent for.
Mr Carter is visiting Captain Brown at the site of the railway to ask if he could possibly supply any building materials for the railway in an effort to ease Lady Ludlow's financial burden, when there is an explosion and both men are injured.

Dr Marshland is explaining that he has confessed all to the Reverend while Dr Harrison perched on a tiny chair is worried that Dr Morgan will mistreat Sophy's typhoid fever.

Then Captain Brown and a badly injured Mr Carter arrive at Dr Harrison's and both he and Dr Marshland spring into action. Miss Galindo has heard about the accident and has run to the surgery, she is asked by Dr Harrison to fetch Mary to assist in the operation on Mr Carter's leg as much ice as she can from Hanbury. Before she rushes off, Mr Carter asks her to come back and to bring a pen a paper also.
Captain Brown has luckily escaped with only a minor eye injury and a bad case of shock, but Dr Marshland applies the stiff drink prescription and he makes a full recovery.

Mr Carter dictates his Last Will and Testament to Miss Galindo who also acts as his witness. She admonishes him for thinking the worst as she steadies Mr Carter's hand while he shakily signs his Will, while fearing the worst herself.

While in the midst of the operation to amputate his damaged leg, Mr Carter's heart gives out and he dies. Lady Ludlow and Miss Galindo are given the bad news by Mary and they both are incredibly affected but portray it wordlessly. Lady Ludlow takes Miss Galindo's hand as much as to give give comfort as to unite them in their grief.
Helen and Lizzie Hutton have run from the Rectory to ask for Dr Harrison's help who immediately agrees to come, pausing only get the leftover ice to treat Sophy.
Dr's Harrison and Marshland arrive at the Rectory only to be refused entry by a furious Reverend. Mrs Rose however speaks up for Dr Harrison and his medical expertise and the Reverend lets the two men through.

They immediately begin work by cooling the room and wrapping Sophy in (very, very fake looking) ice and then a few drops of a potent medicine, which doesn't have much of an effect on Sophy, who stays unconcious throughout, but appears to excite Dr Harrison, who is confident that his treatment has worked.
Harry Gregson reads a poem (Gray's "Elegy Written In a Country Churchyard") from the book of poetry that Mr Carter gave him, which he closes and softly places on Mr Carter's chest. He has come tonight to pay his respects as he fears that he won't be allowed to attend the funeral.
Sophy wakes up to find a pensive and unshaven Dr Harrison sitting beside her bed waiting for her to wake up and she smiles and takes his hand.
Harry is summoned to Lady Ludlows presence, he is mindful of his dirtiness and fears to sit down, but Lady Ludlow tells him to sit as her equal and recounts to him the details of Mr Carter's will.

He is to have £1000 pounds immediately which is to be used for his education and Harry is amazed to learn that he is also to be given the bulk of Mr Carter's fortune, which is upwards of £20000, on the proviso that he lends the money to Lady Ludlow to pay off her mortgage. When the debt is repaid the money should be used to build a school.
The small gathering at Miss Matty's is interrupted by a knock at the door and then Jessie Brown's recital of "On the Banks of Loch Lomond" is joined by a deeper voice gently singing and an astonished Jessie breaks off to greet Major Gordon who has returned from India. He confesses that despite travelling for 3 months he still doesn't know what to say to Jessie. Captain Brown, complete with eyepatch, bluffly comments that he should at least propose again. Ah Captain Brown, even though he was the first to expire in the book, has made it to the end, with most of him intact!
Miss Matty sits serenely observing the happiness of Jessie and Major Gordon and is slightly taken aback to be told that Major Gordon has brought back something for her too.

The door opens and standing there looking tanned (and remarkably like a heartier version of one of my Uncles) is Peter. He proffers the long ago promised Indian muslin for Matty's wedding gown and ruefully admits that he has arrived a little late.
An engagement party is under way for Caroline Tomkinson and Mr Godard the butcher! The table is laden with a lot of meat and the ladies are not slow in steadily filling their plates.
Mrs Rose and Dr Morgan arrive together arm in arm precipitating polite curtseys and gossip inbetween. Miss Pole assailed on all sides by couples, baldly states that she has spinster carved on her bones, but upon being introduced to the handsome Aga Jenkyns is reduced to a girlish flutter.
Dr Harrison it seems has overcome the Reverend's qualms and has been allowed to marry Sophy. They emerge from the church to a shower of rice and congratulations from the entire village (well, the speaking cast anyhow). Sophy has been given the Indian muslin by Miss Matty as it was destined to be worn by a Rectory bride and very lovely she looks too.
The bouquet is thrown and is caught by Harry, who quickly passes it to Dr Morgan who in turn presents it to Mrs Rose. Dr Marshland comments that it was a shame that Harry caught it, to Mary, who laughingly admonishes him.
Miss Matty is complimented on how fine the wedding dress looks, to which she replies: "Such a fine, close weave." And then she contentedly holds Peter's arm a little tighter, finally getting her happy ending.
Sophy and Dr Harrison drive away, waving as they do so and the cast wave back, waving not only to the departing couple, but to us too! Goodbye!