All Women's Talk

7 Excellent Adaptations by Andrew Davies ...

By Lauren

I’m a massive fan of adaptations by Andrew Davies. Most of the time, screenwriters don’t get the recognition they deserve, but we should remember these are the guys that put the words in the actors’ mouths and provide the story for the directors to bring to life. Andrew Davies is a masterful writer who has taken some of the most beloved stories of all time and rewritten them for the screen, big and small. You may not be familiar with the name but you will be extremely impressed by adaptations by Andrew Davies.

Table of contents:

  1. Bridget jones’s diary
  2. House of cards
  3. Northanger abbey
  4. Bleak house
  5. Tipping the velvet
  6. The three musketeers
  7. The tailor of panama

1 Bridget Jones’s Diary

On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

We all know that Bridget Jones is the zany girl about town brainchild of Helen Fielding, but it is also a fitting start to the list of adaptations by Andrew Davies. I have chosen this to illustrate the extent of this man’s amazing ability. Andrew Davies was 65 years old when he gave us the screenplay to Bridget. You have to marvel at how a senior man from Wales can make a young female so relatable. I know he had a great book to work with but there’s a reason why book writers don’t usually write their own screenplays – not everyone can write in both styles and formats so easily.

2 House of Cards

On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

The American series of House of Cards is based on the original British series, shown on BBC in 1990. This in turn was adapted from the book written by Michael Dobbs. Who wrote the adaptation? Andrew Davies. It was only fitting therefore that when Beau Willimon decided to create an American version, he called upon the services of Andrew Davies. He, Millimon and Dobbs have been involved in the scriptwriting for all 26 episodes so far.

3 Northanger Abbey

On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

From political drama to costume melodrama. I am a huge fan of the BBC TV version of Pride and Prejudice, but that has featured in a number of movie posts on AWS so I have gone for another of the Andrew Davies adaptations of a Jane Austen Novel. I believe Andrew Davies is the greatest at taking the Jane Austen stories from book to screen and as well as Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey, Davies has also written screenplays for a TV series of Sense and Sensibility and Emma.

4 Bleak House

On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

Long before Charles Dance donned the robes of Tywin Lannister, he played a great number of roles in British films and TV series. He is particularly special at portraying upright Englishmen – such as Mr. Tulkinghorn in Bleak House. Charles Dickens is another of the great English writers to be subject to Andrew Davies adaptations and Bleak House is one the novelist's greatest books, and one of Davies’ best screenplays. Charles Dance was a fine cast member.

5 Tipping the Velvet

On Amazon at: amazon.com

If there was any doubt that Andrew Davies could write women for women, this would totally dispel it. He adapted Sarah Waters’ debut novel about a coming of age/lesbian love story into a 3-part mini series for the BBC and it received much critical acclaim. The novel did as well, as it was named by both the London and New York Times as one of the best books of 1998.

6 The Three Musketeers

On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

I have loved this story since I was old enough to read it, and having seen every TV and movie version I was skeptical that anyone could bring anything new to another outing. In the skillful hands of Andrew Davies, however, I found it more than watchable. It wasn’t well received by the critics and it hasn’t received a good rating on Rotten Tomatoes but I think it is under appreciated. I love the introduction of Steampunk into the classic story and so what if the plot doesn’t really stick so closely to the original? It’s fun!

7 The Tailor of Panama

On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

I’ve chosen this not because I am particularly fond of it but more to illustrate the breadth of work that the Andrew Davies adaptations encompass. Although he is superb at period and costume drama, he can also turn his hand to thrillers. The Tailor of Panama is a spy story written by John Le Carrë. The movie version stars Pierce Brosnan as the disgraced British spy sent to Panama to make a connection with the tailor.

Andrew Davies has taken the classic works of the likes of Evelyn Waugh, William Thackeray, E M Forster, Elizabeth Gaskell and even Shakespeare and transferred them to the screen for our enjoyment. And, Andrew Davies isn’t just a skilful writer of adaptations. He also creates some great shows and movies in his own right. I was thrilled to find out that one of my favorite sitcoms from the '90s – Game On – was one of his original creations. He is also the creator of Mr. Selfridge, which is popular on British TV. Did you know he had this many credits to his name?

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