Georgette Heyer’s novels have been adapted to the screen only twice before and each time was a disaster. As a result, fans often worry over all the things that could go wrong if an adaptation were ever attempted again. I want you to instead imagine for a moment what a Heyer adaptation would look like if everything went right. Imagine a miniseries. Not just any miniseries, mind you. I’m talking about a beautifully written, impeccably cast, gorgeously filmed, historical costume epic. Now keep that image in your mind as I present to you the contenders for the Heyer Novel Best Suited to the Small Screen.
Our first contender is Venetia. Set in the Regency era, Venetia has Jasper Damerel as a brooding, Byronic hero and Venetia Lanyon as a beautiful and intelligent heroine. It features a strong supporting cast, including Aubrey, Mrs. Scorrier, Lady Steeple, and Nurse. And there is plenty of room for a bit of creative license. What about a flashback scene showing glimpses of Damerel’s disreputable past? Or a scene revealing the mysterious backstory of Venetia’s mother, Lady Steeple? There is no limit to what a talented filmmaker could do with this wonderful novel.
Our second contender is Cotillion. Also set in the Regency, it has multiple love stories of every variety, including those of Freddy and Kitty, Camille and Olivia, and Lord Dolphinton and Miss Plymstock. It has a supporting cast of incredibly entertaining characters like Miss Fishguard, Mr. Penicuik, and Freddy’s cousins, father, and sister. It even has a few villains in the characters of Jack Westruther and Lord Dolphinton’s mother. With such a combination of romance, comedy, and drama, Cotillion is sure to be a ratings success.
Our third contender is These Old Shades. A Georgian novel set half in England and half in France, it is primarily a story of vengeance. It features Heyer favorites the Duke of Avon and Léonie, as well as a little cross-dressing, a kidnapping, a suicide, evil plots, and one of the worst villains in the Heyer canon – The Comte de Saint-Vire. There is plenty of action and drama. There is also a very touching romance. And did I mention the lavish costumes? Corsets and panniers, ruffled frock coats, clocked stockings, and high-heeled shoes. Who wouldn’t want to watch?
Our fourth contender is Friday’s Child. Another Regency, it is arguably the most ensemble piece in Heyer’s repertoire. There are the romantic leads, Hero and Sherry. There are Sherry’s friends, Gil, Ferdy, and George. There is Isabella the incomparable and the priggish Duke of Severn. There is Hero’s noble suitor, Mr. Tarleton, and the estimable Lady Saltash and her pug. And for villains, we have vile reprobate Sir Monatgue Revesby and Sherry’s horribly spiteful mother. With one of the sweetest love stories and some of the most quotable lines of any Heyer novel, Friday’s Child would make a perfect television miniseries.
Our fifth and final contender is An Infamous Army. More than just a retelling of the Battle of Waterloo, it is the story of the complex love affair between Lady Barbara Childe and Colonel Charles Audley, the unequal match between Lucy Devenish and Lord George Alastair, and the troubled marriage of Peregrine Taverner and his wife, Harriet. In addition to the personal intrigues and dramas, there is the famous battle itself and the subsequent scenes of tragedy and loss. A skilled filmmaker could turn this novel into a truly epic miniseries, one that even non-romance fans would be tuning in to watch.
Cast your vote for the Georgette Heyer Novel Best Suited to the Small Screen! There are no limits on how many times you can vote and, as always, if you have a preference for another of Georgette Heyer’s novels (Frederica, for example, or The Masqueraders), I encourage you to write in your choice below.
The Poll is Now Closed.
1st Place: These Old Shades with 20%.
2nd Place: Venetia with 18%.
3rd Place: Cotillion with 16%.
4th Place: An Infamous Army with 10%.
5th Place: Friday’s Child with 9%.
Honorable Mentions: Devil’s Cub with 8 votes by write-in; The Talisman Ring and The Grand Sophy with 7 votes each by write-in; and Sylvester and The Reluctant Widow with 4 votes each by writing in.
The following Heyer novels garnered at least 1 vote each by write-in: The Toll-Gate, Arabella, Frederica, The Unknown Ajax, Regency Buck, False Colours, The Masqueraders, The Foundling, Sprig Muslin, and Faro’s Daughter.
Thank you for voting!
The next Georgette Heyer Poll is Wednesday July 1st.
© 2015 Mimi Matthews
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