Did deserve our undying devotion?
Mr custard.tv .tv stepped from his front door into the elegant, bustling streets of the Weekend’s TV Schedules with one thing alone on his mind – to find a bride. In his distracted reverie, he was almost run over by the numbing wheels of the EastEnders Omnibus. Recovering his composure, he peered down BBC1 avenue, where he viewed the pretty and delectable Miss Dr Who abashed with 20 or more suitors. But they were younger and more appealing than he was, and not two weeks before he had glimpsed his first grey hair. Instead, he headed down the main thoroughfare of ITV1 road and beheld the astonishing beauty of Miss Persuasion – she truly was the prettiest young woman in all of the schedules.
What was admirable about its countenance?
• Breathless, Mr custard.tv returned home to consider his proposal of marriage to Miss Persuasion. He picked up a crude but artful etching he had made of her when she once glided through Victoria Park. What was it that he most admired? Perhaps the repressed adoration that Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones, as Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth, expressed for one another.
• It was a confusing but joyous revelation when Frederick and Anne finally let go of the social strictures that confined them to their diverging paths after a teenage romance and succumbed to their overwhelming mutual attraction. The awkwardness and discomfort of Anne when Frederick appeared back in her life fairly impaled us such was its tender conveyance.
• Of course, thought Mr custard.tv, an etching can offer only so much insight into a young lady’s character, but even within his slapdash handiwork it was possible to join the dots and gloriously perceive that which had been edited out through time constraints.
• One such thread was that of being ‘persuaded’, evidently the core theme of the tale, Anne lamented that she had “been persuaded otherwise” of accepting Frederick’s proposal before he went off to sea. While Frederick cruelly chides Anne when he declares to all and sundry that the woman he will marry will not “be open to persuasion one way and then the other”.
• While the other burning ember of beauty in Miss Persuasion’s face was Frederick’s childish resentment of Anne, communicated by his deliberate ignorance and scornful visage. Yet such was the subtlety, skill and anguish with which it was done that it also showed how much Frederick still cared for her and wanted to glean a little revenge.
• Yet Miss Persuasion was not as sweet as she may have appeared on the surface. Beneath that iridescent, glistening sheen there lurked malevolent depths. Her beastly father, Sir Walter (Anthony Head) saw her as an unseemly millstone about his neck and, along with the manipulative Miss Russell (Alice Krige), almost coerced her into marrying her avaricious cousin. Yet it was Anne’s rally of defiance to her father’s wishes that enabled her to wrestle free of his smothering tyranny, first by refusing to accompany him on a visit to a relative as she had pledged to meet with an infirm friend, then her refusal to accept the proposal of her cousin, which culminated in her pursuit of happiness in the dashing form of Frederick Wentworth.
What about did we see as unpleasant and vulgar?
• After gazing at the etching until supper, repaired again to Miss Persuasion’s home. He knocked firmly on the door, yet each rap opened up a pit of despair and doubt. Even now I know so little about her, he fretted, and can I commit to a lifelong union when all I know about her has come from merely one and half hours in her company? It all seems so fragmented and hurried. But, he resolved, I am sure that in time we will get to know one another better and she shall magically transform from an adorable, flighty television drama into a doting, maternal 19th century novel from which I can extract all the good character and love that I require.
• Mr custard.tv was invited into the drawing room where Miss Persuasion was seated surrounded by her mother and sisters. This was odd, thought Mr custard.tv, wherever I have seen Miss Persuasion she has always been seated, even in my etching. This confounds me to where she found the sprightliness and strength to send Anne running around Bath when the most physical exertion she seemed to undertake was walks in the countryside, and even then she couldn’t stay on her own two feet.
• More mysterious still, thought Mr custard.tv, was that Anne was able to run around Bath without being sucked into one of the tourist whirlpools that afflict the Georgian city for many months each year that make the streets of London look like an autobahn at 3am.