Stoppard does Ford

Today’s Telegraph reports that Tom Stoppard is writing an adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End tetralogy for the BBC. Filming starts next year, and presumably the end product will be an item in the BBC’s response to the War’s centenary.

3 Comments

  1. Andy Frayn
    Posted August 6, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    My sources tell me that it will be a fairly free adaptation. Make of that what you will…

  2. Posted August 6, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Free is probably good, if it means an imaginative re-creation of Ford’s work for a different medium. These aren’t the sort of novels to which a plodding chapter-by-chapter adaptation would do anything like justice.
    But let’s hope ‘free adaptation’ doesn’t mean the sort of thing the BBC did to The 39 Steps last year – smoothing the edges to make it more palatable to twenty-first century mass taste.

  3. Posted August 8, 2010 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    The big question, now I come to think of it, is – what will they do about Tietjens?
    Is he a hero that the twenty-first century will be able to identify with? Ford himself realised the problem, as he explained in his introduction to Peregrine Acland’s ‘All Else is Folly’ (1931):
    ‘I remember very well […] thinking to myself when about half way through a novel about the late war, “Well, my central character is such a queer, unusual fellow that I do not see how anyone is going much to sympathise with him in his misfortunes.”’
    The virtue of Tietjens goes far beyond the reasonable, especially in his gentlemanly consideration of the vile Sylvia. Will makers of the TV version feel the need to tone him down? And if so, will Tietjens still be Tietjens?


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