The BBC’s splashy new remake of Howard’s End launched on BBC One last weekend, and nearly 7 million UK viewers tuned in to its first episode.
Happily, Americans won’t have to wait that long to see the drama for ourselves, as premium network Starz has scooped up the American broadcast rights.
Of course, many of you have probably seen the famous Merchant and Ivory take on Howard’s End, which starred acting heavy hitters like Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Vanessa Redgrave and Helena Bonham Carter. Maybe you even wondered why anyone needed to remake this story. (That 1992 Merchant and Ivory version is pretty darn perfect.)
The television series will get a lot more room to breathe than its feature film counterpart, clocking in at four hours, rather than ninety minutes. And, if reviews of the drama’s British premiere are anything to go by, this Howard’s End seemsmuch more interested in commenting on modern issues of class and race than its predecessor. Particularly since, given our current cultural environment, the question of the type of people who will inherit England really has never been more relevant.
(I’m a fan of the novel, can you tell?)
At its most basic level – or at least according to the pre-show press kit - the drama follows the story of two independent and unconventional sisters, and the men in their lives, as they seek love and meaning in an ever-changing world.
The ensemble cast is predictably top-notch, starring Philippa Coulthard as Helen Schlegel, Hayley Atwell as her sister Margaret, Matthew Macfadyen as head of the neighboring Wilcox family and Julia Ormond as his wife.
Watch the BBC trailer for yourselves below:
Those outfits! That scenery! Swoon!
While the period drama will air Starz in the U.S., as yet there’s no firm airdate for when that will happen. Best guess, per Deadline, is that we’ll probably see it sometime in early 2018. The network aired another British period drama import – The White Princess – in early April of this year, so perhaps that’s our best barometer of when we might see this one. Maybe a little bit earlier, if we’re lucky.
It does feel a little bit odd that this series – based on a novel no less – isn’t airing on Masterpiece, but apparently Starz won out in the rights battle in the end. Oh, well. Many premium cable offerings do show up on public television after their initial pay-cable or streaming service airings – The Collection, for example - and there’s always something like iTunes as a last resort.
How do you feel about the prospect of a new Howard’s End? Any other big fans of E.M. Forster around here? Let’s discuss.