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WEEKEND VIEW: Night in with a classy Trollope.

Byline: TONY PURNELL

THE costume drama The Way We Live Now (BBC1) was a real turn up for the book.

It was not written by Charles Dickens, Jane Austen or any of the Bronte sisters.

If Chris Tarrant had asked a Who Wants To Be A Millionaire contestant to name the author, they would have gone 50-50, asked the audience and phoned a friend.

It was Anthony Trollope, but I'll bet not a lot of people know that - and even fewer are aware he also invented the pillar-box.

I simply mention it because the set designers painstakingly recreated one along with everything else that could be found on the streets of London in the 1870s.

Shame on you if you spotted it.

Your are either one of those anoraks who spends their time looking out for period mistakes or you were bored and found your attention straying from the plot.

Personally, I was rivetted from the moment David Suchet made his appearance as shady 19th-century financier Augustus Melmotte.

Especially as the Poirot favourite admitted he prepared for the role by watching newsreel of shady 20th-century financier Robert Maxwell.

It was wonderful to watch as power- and money-mad Melmotte bought his way into polite society.

Suchet gave such a towering performance, whenever he left the room it seemed an emptier place.

The savage social satire was packed with colourful characters.

Cheryl Campbell went gloriously over the top as cash-strapped Lady Carbury whose obvious charms knocked your eyes out.

And Matthew Macfadyen was superb as Sir Felix Carbury, her scheming wastrel of a son who saw Melmotte's simpering daughter as the answer to his money problems.

It may be a little-known classic but it makes a gem of a TV series.

MR Hell turned up as a smarmy door-to-door salesman in cartoon comedy Aaagh! It's The Mr Hell Show (BBC2). No wonder the programme-makers thought Bob Monkhouse was perfect to provide the voice.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 12, 2001
Words:321
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