Earlier this year the BBC broadcast a five part TV series based on Wilkie Collins’ 1860 novel, The Woman in White. The complicated story revolves around Laura and her half-sister Marian’s attempt to protect Laura’s money from her evil husband, Sir Percival. The identity of a mysterious woman, dressed in white and looking very similar to Laura herself, adds suspense and an interesting twist to the plot. This was Wilkie Collins’ first major novel and established his reputation as a creator of mysterious, sinister stories.

The new BBC adaptation of the story received mixed reception when it was shown. It was praised for its great costumes, beautiful scenery and creepy atmosphere. So what could possibly go wrong? Apparently quite a lot! One of the main themes of the story is the injustice faced by women at the time, especially in financial and legal matters. Many viewers felt that the BBC were wrong to transform Laura (played by Olivia Vinall) from the original passive oppressed character to a more modern assertive version. The TV audience complained that although costumes, set and scenery were excellent, they weren’t completely convinced by characters who felt that their communication and behaviour felt far too modern.

 

Watch the trailer!

Illustration by Paolo D’Altan, taken from The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, Reading and Training, Step 4 (B2.1)