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The setting for this high-society war of wits and beauties, based on the American author Julia Quinn’s best-selling historical novels, is Regency London. In pursuit of true love, young Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor), the eldest daughter of the famous Bridgerton family, embarks on her debutante season. She encounters the revolting and unruly Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page), also known as the Duke of Hastings, who in an Elizabeth/Darcy kind of way catches Daphne’s attention. Sadly, Daphne also catches the eye (and pen) of the enigmatic Lady Whistledown, who publishes a gossip sheet for high society, and so the scene is set for the dilemma of Daphne – yield to social pressure and give in or follow her heart on the road to true love.
25th of Dec., Netflix
The Black Materials His
The critically praised BBC adaptation of the famous novel series by Philip Pullman has returned for a second eight-part series. Lyra (Dafne Keen) finds herself in Cittàgazze, the dusty, deserted town she entered through a portal at the end of the first season, in the second season, which sticks (fairly) faithfully to the books. Finally, she encounters her future companion, Will Parry (Amir Wilson), who has stepped through a similar portal in his own country, today’s Oxford, to avoid the police and the enigmatic figures who threaten him and his mother and ask questions about Colonel John Parry, his soldier-father. Actually, we haven’t met him yet, but, spoiler warning, he will soon appear in the form of Sherlock and Fleabag star Andrew Scott, though he’s known as explorer Stanislaus Grumman in Lyra’s universe.
BBC One on Sundays
The Nice Mr. Bird The Good Mr.
This miniseries from the US broadcaster Showtime, based on the best-selling 2013 novel by African-American author James McBride, tells the story of young slave Henry Shackleford (Joshua Caleb Johnson) and his involvement in the events leading up to the American Civil War. Identified as Onion, Henry joins the abolitionist John Brown (a bearded Ethan Hawke), the man who in the late 1850s led a slave revolt that went down as Bleeding Kansas in literature. Hawke, credited as co-creator, has assembled an usually disparate team of actors, producers and directors including rapper Daveed Diggs, horror impresario Jason Blum, Albert Hughes (who with his twin brother Allen directed Menace II Society and Dead Presidents) and groundbreaking filmmaker Haifaa al-Mansour, t t.
Sky Atlantic on Nov. 18,
Narcissus in Black
In this three-part adaptation of Rumer Godden’s 1939 book, best known for the 1947 movie by the inimitable team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, which starred Glasgow-born Deborah Kerr and won two Oscars, Gemma Arterton stars alongside Alessandro Nivola, Jim Broadbent, Gina McKee and, in her final screen appearance, Diana Rigg. Here, because of the intervention of local administrator Mr. Dean, Arterton plays the role of Anglican nun Sister Clodagh, whose work in the Himalayas becomes increasingly grim, disturbing and sexually charged (Nivola). The script is directed by writer Amanda Coe, and the film is directed by Charlotte Bruus Christensen, whose film work includes the duo The Hunt and Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Vinterberg, as well as the menacing horror A Quiet Place by John Krasinski.
BBC One, December
Created and directed by Turner Prize-winning artist and Oscar recipient Steve McQueen, this five-part anthology series examines the experience of being black in Britain between the late 1960s and the early 1980s. It starts with Mangrove, the tale of a group of black activists who, following an anti-racism protest in 1970, became known as the Mangrove Nine when they were charged with causing a riot. Darcus Howe, later a well-known broadcaster and critical analyst, was one of them. He is played by Malachi Kirby, who in the 2016 remake of Roots took on the role of Kunta Kinte. Also appearing are Letitia Wright, Shaun Parkes and Scottish actor Jack Lowden, but the lead role goes to Star Wars actor John Boyega, who played the fighting police officer Le Boyega.