Vanity Fair will be the theme of the opening night of the 2018 Chiswick Book Festival on Thursday 13 September.
ITV’s ‘new sexed-up period drama’ (The Telegraph) hits our screens next Sunday, 2 September at 9.00pm and has all the makings of a huge hit. The screenwriter is Gwyneth Hughes, (Dark Angel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood). the director is James Strong (Broadchurch, Doctor Who) and the production company is Mammoth Screen, who made Poldark.
The star-studded cast includes Michael Palin, Frances de la Tour and Martin Clunes but the lead roles are all played by actors in their twenties: Olivia Cooke (24) plays the heroine Becky Sharp, Tom Bateman (29) her husband Rawdon Crawley and Claudia Jessie (28) her best friend Amelia Sedley.
The production is designed to appeal to today’s audience. ‘In the social-climbing Becky Sharp, it has a heroine in tune with today’s materialistic, self-obsessed world’ says the Daily Mail. “She would be so self-promoting and she would love social media,” Olivia Cook tells The Telegraph. The soundtrack includes Madonna’s Material Girl.
ITV production of Vanity Fair, pictures courtesy of ITV
The Chiswick connection
Director of the Chiswick Book Festival Torin Douglas is very astute at picking up on current TV drama series to launch the festival at Chiswick House. Last year the theme was Jane Austen, with actor Imogen Stubbs. The year before it was Victoria. Queen Victoria we know visited Chiswick House, the Austen connection was a bit more tenuous but Vanity Fair is right on the button, as William Thackeray went to school in Chiswick and the book’s first chapter is set in Chiswick Mall.
Places in Old Chiswick associated with William Thackeray’s Vanity Fair – Walpole House, Chiswick Square, and a plaque marking the garden where Thackeray describes Becky Sharp throwing the dictionary
The evening is already sold out but there is a waiting list, so it is worth emailing email@example.com if you would like to see writer Gwyneth Hughes and actor Claudia Jessie with Thackeray scholar Professor John Sutherland talking about Vanity Fair, chaired by Torin Douglas on Thursday 13 September.
You can read more about the Chiswick Book Festival and the Director Torin Douglas in the This Is Chiswick pages of The Chiswick Calendar website.