Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Fondness Might Change over Time

When I worked on the manuscript for the book that should give German Detective-story lovers an overview about how many, many British gems on DVD  exist, of course I saw the screen adaptions of Dorothy Sayers marvellous detective Lord Peter Wimsey again.  

Sadly, most Germans know only a few films such as Caroline Graham's 'Midsummer Murder' or Agatha Christie's 'Miss Marple' (and then the version with Margaret Rutherford, not the outstanding Joan Hickson or the version with the late Geraldine McEwan)

TV in Germany tries its best to enlighten them, but what I had in mind is a sort of "opera guide" for British detective TV series from the beginning till now - available on DVD. 

I admire Dorothy Sayers so much - a witty intellectual, so much fun to read - and I have to confess that each year since the 1970s I read at least two or three of her novels per annum. 

And I can recall vividly my disappointment, when I purchased the first DVDs starring Ian Carmichael, OBE. "Clouds of Witness" was filmed in 1972 - at that time I was a very young student - and THAT was NOT MY Lord Peter! For me Ian Carmichael was an old man, sorry to say. When in 2003 the DVDs with Edward Petherbridge appeared, I was a bit appeased. 

Now I saw the series with Ian Carmichael again. And think them very well done. 

Yes - he still is a bit old for Lord Peter - but not THAT much as I saw it in 1972.   

He didn't change - I did. 

Which is - all in all - a good thing.    😀



  1. Lord Wimsey is only second to Sherlock Holmes in fame. Personally I think Lord Wimsey is much more likable.

    1. Dear Emma, I agree with you: Sherlock Holmes is known world-wide (I once visited "his house" in London - fun). But Lord Peter reaches my heart - he is such a sensible, well-educated and sensitive man - a real gentleman!

  2. I saw Joan Hickson last week in a snippet of a 1948 film, she would have been 42-ish, instantly recognisable and practically as ancient-looking then as playing Miss Marple in her 80s. But she was cast as a schoolboy's mother, and presumably thought to be convincing. Everyone looks old in films from the olden days!

    This is the second mention of Lord Wimsey this week for me. The universe is prompting me to tuck into some Dorothy Sayers, pronto!

    1. That is interesting, Pipistrello, about Joan - and of course I appreciate your remark "presumably thought to be convincing" - hahaha - that could come from dear Lucia (Mrs. Lucas).

      As to Lord Peter: if this is your first encounter with the novels of Dorothy Sayers, please do NOT start with "The Nine Taylors" (except if you want to deepen your broad knowledge about English chime of bells (though the DVD does that nicely) - and NOT with "Five Red Herrings" - they might come over as a bit...tedious?
      I really love "Gaudy Night" (although that bulk of a book stars Harriet Vane - Lord Peter is there only a shadow whooshing through the venerable female university at Oxford).
      Or if you like chronology: it isn't her first Lord Peter-Novel, but the first where he meets Harriet Vane - then I recommend "Strong Poison".
      I believe strongly in the universe prompting us by synchronicity! Especially if it promises fun :-)

  3. They are better on radio. Have you seen the 'Sherlock' series? They are the best adaptations.

    1. I agree, Tom: I have the CDs with Ian Carmichael reading the novels - and there I find him adorable!
      As to Sherlock: I know your preference of Basil Rathbone as Sherlock, and of course I write about him, and too about Jeremy Brett, whom I also love - and of course the new version with dazzling Benedict Cumberbatch.
      There are so many more filmed versions of Sherlock - but I only talk about these three - the readers may even think that too much, not wanting a "history" lesson, but these are the three important ones in our time, I think. (By the way - have you seen "Mr. Holmes" with Ian McKellen? Very soothing, a Sherlock Holmes who is now 93 years old and retired).

  4. I do love the Dorothy Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey books and would enjoy seeing any and all TV and movie productions of them. Wouldn't it be lovely to sit in on an Inklings get together with Sayers, Tolkien and C.S. Lewis?

  5. Dear Terra, I just loaded a book on my Kindle that sounds enticing:
    " The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy Sayers and her Oxford Circle Remade the World of Women" by Mo Moulton. Am excited to read it (even on a Kindle...)

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