Badvent Calendar Day 23

The Count-down is over.

Not for Christmas of course. It’s not Christmas Eve yet — that’s tomorrow. But the countdown to the eagerly-awaited BBC2 adaptation of ‘Count Magnus’ has passed, as I am only now sitting down to write this after it was broadcast. So time for a potted review — of my first impressions of course. I’m not sure of the wisdom of Jason Watkins playing the hapless Mr Wraxhall as a kind of Mr Toad figure, or of using the least menacing-looking family vault in history to represent the Magnus mausoleum, but the flashback to the two peasants’ ill-fated ‘free hunt’ in the Count’s woods is effectively grisly, and Wraxhall’s attempted flight is as suspenseful as it should be. However, the rest suffers from the sense that the production got stuck with a long spell of far-too-good weather during the location shoot: The bright, sunny conditions on the extremely well-manicured De La Gardie estate severely detracts from the sense of doom-laden inevitability that makes this one of James’s most chilling tales.

But on an unrelated note, I can’t help wondering about the new Tory-appointed ethics advisor, whose name happens to be Sir Laurie Magnus…

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