BBC Adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love

Image above: Lily James in the BBC’s 2020 adaptation of The Pursuit of Love

The BBC has produced a new TV adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s novel The Pursuit of Love. Filmed in 2020, the 75th anniversary of the novel’s first publicationit will be coming this year to BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Written and directed by Emily Mortimer, The Pursuit Of Love is a romantic comedy-drama about love and friendship. Set in Europe between the two World Wars, the story follows the adventures and misadventures of the charismatic and fearless Linda Radlett, and her best friend and cousin Fanny Logan.

Images above: Andrew Scott as Lord Merlin; Dominic West as Uncle Matthew; Lily James as Linda Radlett

The production stars Lily James (Mama Mia, Baby Driver) as the main protagonist Linda Radlett and Emily Beecham (Daphne, Hail Caesar!) as Fanny.

Dominic West (The Affair, The Wire) is Linda’s father, Fanny’s Uncle Matthew, much given to sudden rages, playing loud music at all times of day and night and blasting anything that moves on his land with his shotgun. Andrew Scott (the hot priest in Fleabag) is Lord Merlin, the cultured neighbour, detested by Uncle Matthew, who introduces the girls to the finer things of life.

The all-star cast also includes Dolly Wells, Assaad Bouab, Shazad Latif, Freddie Fox, Emily Mortimer and Beattie Edmondson.

Images above: Lily James and Emily Beecham

Consumed by a desire for love and marriage, the two women are on the hunt for the ideal husband. Their friendship is put to the test as Fanny settles for a steady life and Linda decides to follow her heart, to increasingly wild and outrageous places. As social and political divisions split the nation, their diverging choices raise personal questions that remain intensely relevant today – questions about freedom, about love and sex, and the mystery of the human heart.

The novel is largely autobiographical, with the characters and locations thinly disguised members of Nancy Mitford’s family and friends and their homes. The character of Fabrice de Sauveterre, the rich French Duke Linda meets in Paris, is based on Gaston Palewski, a French colonel attached to General Charles de Gaulle’s London staff who Nancy met in London during the Second World War and who became the great love of her life.

Images above: Assaad Bouab as Fabrice de Sauveterre, with Lily James as Linda

Emily Mortimer, says: “I’ve always loved Nancy Mitford so when I was asked to adapt The Pursuit Of Love it was impossible to say no. It’s an outrageously funny and honest story, whose central character – the wild, love-addicted Linda Radlett – still reads as a radical. I feel privileged to be directing this show and working with the brilliant teams at Open Book, Moonage Pictures, Amazon and the BBC.”

Lily James, says: “It’s great to be working with Emily. Her brilliant scripts bring new life to this story – full of love, full of friendship, very moving and sad in places, but also funny and true to life.”

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: “Emily Mortimer’s adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s masterpiece will introduce The Pursuit Of Love to a new generation of fans. We are indebted to Emily, producers Moonage Pictures and Open Book and to the series’ glittering cast, led by Dominic West and Lily James, for their commitment to bringing this treasured novel to life”.

Nancy Mitford lived for a while at Rose Cottage, Strand on the Green, in the 1930s. Read more about her life and the time she spent living in Chiswick here.

Our thanks to the BBC for permission to use the pictures.

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See also: Explore Chiswick’s cultural history online and on foot

See also: EM Forster, Edwardian novelist who lived in Arlington Park Mansions, overlooking Turnham Green

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