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Parade’s End is a period drama like no other

By Chloe McKay

I adore a really good period drama as they sweep me out of modern life and into a romantic and long forgotten world.

Now some may say it is soppy to root for such characters as Elizabeth Bennett or Charles Dickens’ Little Dorrit but, I have always found that it is powerful long lasting characters such as these that resonate with me.  So I was excited when I found out that an adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End was hitting our Friday night television screens and I’m not going to lie an hour of Benedict Cumberbatch hurts no one.

So there I am curled up on my sofa, ready for an hour of the usual period drama fabulous fluff, when I discovered that Parade’s End is a period drama like no other.

Set in the Edwardian era Benedict Cumberbatch and Rebecca Hall star as Christopher Tietjens and Sylvia Satterthwaite, a married couple who are a fantastically bad match.

Sylvia is tempestuous and provoking, she is the kind of character who lives by her own moral code, rules for her don’t necessarily apply to others- particularly her husband. Christopher or Crissy is a good man the complete opposite of Sylvia, he adores his son, even though he strongly doubts the paternity of the child. Christopher has no choice but to recognise that his wife is an adulterer, and what can I say, she is a modern woman. Despite this he refuses to divorce her through fear of scandal and by wanting to do right by his wife and son.  Even though  friends wish him to ‘drag her though the mud’ but Christopher believes in monogamy above all else.

Christopher’s beliefs are challenged when he meets the young suffragette Valentine Wonnap, who, although she is younger, he falls in love with almost instantly. The pair are intellectual equals and intrigue and challenge each other. Although Christopher would never lay a hand on her because he has such strong beliefs in chastity and monogamy, his feeling are strong and it would appear the impending war could change everything.

Parade’s End is a thought provoking and challenging period drama it requires its audience to think, feel and fight for the characters. It invokes emotions about a time that was all about change, a time that was challenging to people who knew war just around the corner. It requires viewers to think about a time that has been lost to us by any living link and remember long lost connections to the past, and how important that era is to todays present.

Parades End continues Friday at 9.00pm0 on BBC 2.

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