The BBC gets the job done, once again! The 2005 BBC’s Shakespeare Retold version of Much Ado About Nothing is really something! I enjoyed it quite a lot. This is a totally modern version using modern English. It is set in a TV news studio. Beatrice (played by Sarah Parish) is one of the news anchors. Benedick (Damian Lewis), a former colleague and boyfriend who jilted her three years before, is re-hired when the current co-anchor drinks himself into a little sabbatical.
Hero (Billie Piper) is the hare-brained weather girl and Claude (Tom Ellis) is a reporter. They bond over difficulty pronouncing “meteorological.” They aren’t the sharpest tacks. I liked this quite a lot. They seem so right for each other.
Benedick and Beatrice are fun and modern; I like them both and they have great chemistry. There’s a sweet scene where they bond over Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116. Benedick is best man for Claude and plans to read this at the wedding.
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
The Don John character takes a pretty major leap from the original play. Here it’s Don (Derek Riddell), the director who has just lost his wife. Hero has pity sex with him and he develops an obsession with her. He’s also drinking and gets demoted to graphics guy. Wow is he creepy. So, the motivation here is different than in the original play. He’s obsessed with Hero and his brooding jealousy of her relationship with Claude fuels the lies and deception that ruin Hero and Claude’s wedding.
Also, Hero takes a step toward modernity in standing up for herself after the jilting. The ending for Hero and Claude is quite different and more modern than Shakespeare’s ending.
The whole show is well done and very watchable. I like the way things are tied up for B&B. The final scene is quite a giggle!
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