Affinity, ITV1

by | Dec 30, 2008 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

In a wonders-never-cease moment, ITV1 out-qualitied BBC1 in a head-to-head costume drama battle. While The 39 Steps was crass and full of crowd-pleasing effort, Affinity was intelligent and played down opportunities for sensationalism.

What was good about it?

• Andrew Davies came up with a faithful, near faultless adaptation of the Sarah Waters

Gothic ghost story/lesbian love story, delivering a simmering, unsalacious romance amid the repression and brutality of Victorian society. The whole story knitted together without any TV trickery, building slowly but surely all the way to a shock climax.

• The main cast members – Zoe Tapper (from the recent Survivors) kept her evil streak nicely hidden as we warmed to Selina Dawes, a young medium in Millbank prison for assaulting a girl during a séance; Anna Madeley as gentlewoman Margaret Prior kept her lesbian desires nicely hidden as she become a prison visitor and befriended Dawes.

• The weird world of spiritualism was never explored in a clichéd Scooby Doo way – this was dark, haunting, menacing and intriguing.

• There were no lesbian sex scenes and it didn’t seem that prudish censorship was the reason; rather, Davies was keen to explored the buttoned-up nature of Margaret’s desires. It was surprising that ITV allowed him to show that restraint; hopefully, it’s a sign of more intelligence pervading the ITV drama department.

What was bad about it?

• We don’t normally like happy ever after endings but would have been content if things had turned out well for Selina and Margaret. Instead, there was a terrible turn of events late on which took us by surprise and left us vowing to never trust kindly maids again.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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