Period comedy drama series Mapp and Lucia followed the petty rivalries of two friends, Emmilie ‘Lucia’ Lucas and Elizabeth Mapp in a small town during the 1920’s.
Made for Channel 4, this lavish recreation of the world of E.F. Benson’s perenially popular characters Elizabeth Mapp and Lucia Lucas is gorgeous stuff. A dream cast features Prunella Scales as Mapp and Geraldine McEwan as Lucia as well as the likes of Nigel Hawthorne, Denis Lill and Geoffrey Chater. The setting is the small sea-side town of Tilling-On_sea where the well to do ladies are each determined to be the most influential person in town.
Frequently hilarious and with wonderful production values this was a brilliant evocation of Benson’s humorous stories. The BBC mounted a new 3 part version for Christmas 2014 which sadly came and went without a great deal of fanfare.
Scales, McEwan and Hawthorne were all longtime Benson enthusiasts, fascinated by his lively, waspish dialogue, sure that the books cried out to be adapted. Hawthorne once even thought of securing them himself for television. That the characters are less than real was inviting for the kinds of actors who enjoy fleshing out and hunianising parts for themselves.
“They are” observed Geraldine in a TV Times article promoting the series, “so wonderfully eccentric. There’s a kind of wicked ruthlessness about everyone. Lucia gets a kick out of being ruthless. And she’s quite flirtatious, which is why most people like her. They need her – she’s a leader. She and Georgie are terrific friends, but they’re terribly competitive.”
UK / Channel 4 London Weekend Television / 10×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 14 April 1985 – 31 May 1986
Writer: Gerald Savory / Novels: E.F. Benson / Theme Music: Jim Parker / Producer: Michael Dunlop / Executive Producer: Nick Elliott / Director: Donald McWhinnie
Geraldine McEwan as Lucia
Prunella Scales as Mapp
Nigel Hawthorne as Georgie
Denis Lill as Major ‘Benjy’
Mary Macleod as Diva
James Greene as Padre
Cecily Hobbs as Quaint Irene
Geoffrey Chater as Mr Wyse
Marion Mathie as Mrs Wyse
Geraldine Newman as Grosvenor
Ken Kitson as Cadman
Lucinda Gane as Foljambe
Cherry Morris as Withers
Carol Macready as Daisy Quantock
SEASON ONE 14 April – 12 May 1985
1. THE VILLAGE FETE
2. BATTLE STATIONS
3. THE ITALIAN CONNECTION
4. LOBSTER POTS
5. THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT
SEASON TWO 3 May – 31 May 1986
1. WINNER TAKES ALL
2. CHANGE AND CHANGE ABOUT
3. LADY BOUNTIFUL
5. AU RESERVOIR
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