Sunday, 27 March 2011


The BBC's year of books is making me think about books on TV and film.

It is great that literature is getting so much exposure, Faulks on Fiction and My Life in Books were most enjoyable and thought provoking (as well as tripling my 'to read' lists) but my internal jury is still out on adaptations of books for the screen.

I know that Mr. Bookworm doesn't particularly enjoy watching adaptations of books I've read with me. My squirming and indignant "it didn't happen like that" are admittedly off putting.

My uncertainty of adaptations goes right back to childhood and the BBC version of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I was 11 when this aired and I still remember my upset at how wrong the characters looked, as I'm sure can my family!

Films from books are just as bad. Chocolat and Captain Corelli's Mandolin stick in my mind particularly. If I think of them as being loosely based on the original novels I can just about cope but I still wince. I know deep down that not everything in a book can go into the film but if the author wrote something it seems rude to cut it or change it.

Then there are adaptations of books I haven't read. I find these easier to watch but the whole time I am thinking 'what have they changed?' and 'how accurate is this?'. I'll often go on to read the book afterwards but find that it has been slightly ruined as all of the pictures created in my mind feature the TV actors. Harry Potter looks like Daniel Radcliffe even when I reread the books and Colin Firth is Mr Darcy...

This is why South Riding is sitting on the recorder but not watched. I love this book and even though all of the comments about it have been positive I am nervous as to what they have done to one of my favourite books. Then there is Women in Love - a book I've not read but would like to. Should I read it first or watch the adaptation?

So books getting lots of coverage is a good thing in general, but for me I'm not sure. All I do know is that if I ruin one more TV show or film by saying "it didn't happen like that in the book" I will be condemned to going to the cinema or watching films alone for ever more!

1 comment:

  1. Watched the 1st episode of South Riding (not read it) and didn't bother with rest - characters seemed to artificial.