The handsome and dashing James Purefoy is perfectly cast in this BBC drama about the handsome and dashing Beau Brummell. Brummell, who shot to fame at the heart of the Regency period in England, was a real mans man at a time when every man worth his salt was dressing himself up to the nines, with powders and wigs and all manner of frippery.
Brummell’s twist was that instead of relying on mountains of perfume to disguise their body odour gents of the day should try simply washing, shock horror indeed, not only that but he prided himself on keeping things very simple, especially when it came to dress.
Often called the 1st celebrity Brummell really shoots to prominence when he is befriended by the Prince Regent, however things start to unravel for him when he basically becomes obsessed with the self confessed mad, bad and dangerous to know Lord Byron (played by Matthew Rhys) and there is no going back when he makes the major mistake of publicly humilating the Prince.
An enjoyable romp through Regency times this, not huge of budget but director Phillipa Lowthorpe casts with top notch players, who are clearly relishing their somewhat campy roles. Some cracking dialogue too.
UK / BBC Four – Flashback / 1×80 minute episode / Broadcast 19 June 2006
Writer: Simon Bent / Book: Ian Kelly / Script Consultant: Philippa Lowthorpe / Music: Peter Salem / Executive Producers: Taylor Downing, Richard Fell / Producer: David Edgar / Director: Philippa Lowthorpe
James Purefoy as Beau Brummell
Hugh Bonneville as Prince Regent
Phil Davis as Robinson
Elliot Levey as Tailor
John Telfer as Fop
Tim Hudson as Fop
Zoe Telford as Julia
Justin Salinger as Richard Meyler
Nicholas Rowe as Lord Charles Manners
Ian Kelly as Lord Robert Manners
Jonathan Aris as Marquis of Worcester
Daniel Fine as Cloth Merchant
Nick Richards as Snuff Merchant
Anthony Calf as Duke of York
Matthew Rhys as Lord Byron
Rebecca Johnson as Duchess of York
Max Gell as Palace Footman
Howard Coggins as Edward