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The BBC is set to remake the classic series Mapp and Lucia, which tells the tale of two scheming small-town social rivals, and the people that aid, abet or are simply affected by their competition.
The comedic drama will be based on the novels by author E.F. Benson, originally published during the 1920s. The story begins during the summer of 1930, when Mrs. Emmeline Lucas, known to her friends as Lucia, decides to take a holiday in the charming Queen Anne town of Tilling and runs into – and almost immediately afoul of – Miss Elizabeth Mapp, its designated social ringleader. Chaos (predictably) ensues.
Two-time Academy Award-nominee Miranda Richardson has been cast as Mapp and she’ll face off against The Hour’s Anna Chancellor as Lucia. These rather fantastic leading ladies will be joined by The League of Gentlemen’s Steve Pemberton as Lucia’s devoted acolyte and dapper chief courtier Georgie Pillson, as well as Sherlock star Mark Gatiss – who called Benson’s novels “some of the most sly, funny and waspishly brilliant stories in the language – as Raj Army veteran Major Benjy.
"I cannot wait to get my teeth into Mapp... and of course, Lucia!" said Richardson in a statement, with Chancellor adding, "I hope I can do justice to E.F. Benson's wonderful creations."
Filming is slated to begin this summer and the series will be comprised of three episodes, tentatively scheduled to air in 2015.
"It's a dream come true to be playing the delightful Georgie Pillson in Rye this summer, and I'm doubly excited to be joined by Miranda Richardson and Anna Chancellor,” said Pemberton, who has also written the adaptation. “Both have proved themselves to be equally brilliant comic and dramatic actresses, and the thought of them going into battle as Mapp and Lucia is mouthwatering. The Channel 4 adaptation from the 1980s is what brought me to the books and I very much hope this new version will have a similar effect, turning a whole new readership on to EF Benson's bitingly funny novels.”
The original Channel 4 take on Mapp and Lucia aired in the 1980s and starred Prunella Scales, Geraldine McEwan and Nigel Hawthorne.
Personal note: I am obsessed with the Lucia books. For a totally different reason, Lucia happened to be a nickname of mine in college and I received a box set of the novels as a gift one year. I positively tore through them – if you’ve never read E.F. Benson, I strongly encourage you to do so; they’re wonderfully written and so much fun. I am stupidly over the moon thrilled about this adaptation and hope this fantastic cast does justice to the spirit of the novels. I can’t wait!
Are any of you familiar with Mapp and Lucia or the Benson novels or the original Channel 4 series? Thoughts on this remake? Does anyone want to flail around in joy with me? (Just thought I’d ask.)