Belgravia

Happy Easter!!!!  So excited that a new show starts today that is from the creators of Downton Abbey.  It looks amazing..you will need the new channel Epix.  I added it to my AppleTv subscription (there is a free trial) and the first episode is already available to view.

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“Belgravia,” a six-episode British period drama from “Downton Abbey” creator Julian Fellowes (adapted from his 2016 novel), is everything you want it to be, but not one bit more: a pedigreed, crunchy-gravel story with all the trimmings and light melodramas, set in London’s most affluent neighborhood in 1841, where an old family secret is just dying to get out.

The viewers are in on this secret almost from the beginning, which turns the series into a protracted exercise of hurry-up-and-wait, to see if things turn out all right. The real tension in “Belgravia” (premiering Easter Sunday on premium cable channel Epix) is attuned to class and status, as it usually is in Fellowes’ work.

Here, a successful building developer, James Trenchard (Philip Glenister), and his instinctively circumspect wife, Anne (Tamsin Greig), have risen to a comfortable rung on the ladder during a time of progress in the early years of the Victorian age.

The Trenchards carry a potentially ruinous secret, however, dating back to Brussels in 1815, where, on the eve of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, their lovely but socially ambitious daughter, Sophia (Emily Reid), fell in love with Lord Edmund Bellasis (Jeremy Neumark Jones), the sole heir of the Earl and Countess of Brockenhurst (Tom Wilkinson and Harriet Walter, respectively).

This flashback prologue (and its tragic outcome) occurs in short order in the first episode, so it’s not a huge spoiler to simply note the unplanned birth of a baby boy, who is spirited away by the Trenchards to an adoptive family.

Decades later, in more mutual social orbits, Anne feels compelled to tell the Countess about the grandson she never knew she had. Rather than keep a lid on it, the Countess sees an opportunity. As in “Downton Abbey,” the focus is on the old rules of rightful vs. presumed inheritance, hidden paternity and the measures people will take to retain what they think they are owed – including the servants, who can be coerced to spy on their employers.

John Bellasis (Adam James), the Countess’s greedy nephew (and “Belgravia’s” designated villain), can’t wait to get his hands on the family fortune. But, in another “Downton”-esque move, the true heir begins to emerge: a solid, hard-working, middle-class gentleman, Charles Pope (Jack Bardoe), that secret baby, all grown up and puzzled as to why half of Belgravia is suddenly desperate to make his acquaintance.

“Belgravia” is often more basic than captivating, even with all its 19th-century grandeur and two shipshape performances from Walter and Greig, whose characters ally themselves to stage-manage a standard-issue conclusion. It’s the sort of ending any viewer will have already heard coming from several clip-clops away.

HAPPY WATCHING!

XOXO, KP

 

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