I’m going to do a mini summary for this episode and then an overall summary for the entire series.
Best line: Though I love the way he spits out the word “Puddingdale?” when Mrs. Proudie suggests it at the end, I have to settle for a tie between “Your behavior is abominable” to the Signora and his parting wish for the Proudies: “May you both love . . . forever.”
Best face–I have to vote for a tie between the look on his face that accompanies his spitting out the word “Puddingdale” and the utter disdain on his face right before he marches out the door for the last time:
How watched? DVDs. I got mine from my library and then, because I enjoyed the show so much, I purchased my own. You can also find the entire series on YouTube, but most of the episodes are chopped into multiple pieces.
Does Rickman steal the show? Yes and no. There are a lot of wonderful actors playing hilarious characters throughout this series. I thought Geraldine McEwan was perfect as the domineering Mrs. Proudie, and Susan Hampshire also did a wonderful job playing the conniving but occasionally kind Signora. Nigel Hawthorne also lends admirable support as the explosive Mr. Grantly. When Rickman is sharing scenes with any of these actors, he’s certainly not stealing the scene from them, but he’s also more than holding his own with all of them.
That being said, I do think Rickman’s portrayal of Slope is the highlight of the show. Pretty much every time he’s onscreen, you want to slap him, but you also cannot take your eyes off him and are sad when the scene ends and you have to wait for him to return.
Is it worth watching beyond Rickman? Yes. I think it’s a must-watch for anyone who enjoys British period dramas. I do have problems with the Arabin character–I really think a stronger actor was needed to bring that role to life–but otherwise the acting is all excellent and the writing is top-notch. It’s not fast-moving, but it’s always entertaining.
Spinoff idea? The Life and Times of Obadiah Slope. I’d love to see a prequel that shows how Slope and the Proudies came to be allies.
Best Rickman line? There are so many good ones, but I should probably tip my hat to his most iconic one from the series–“May you both live . . . forever.” His delivery is downright chilling.
Best Rickman face? Again, so many good ones to choose from, but I’ll go with the face when he says “May you both live . . . forever.” There’s something almost vampiric about the way he moves and looks here. I’m sure the Proudies were haunted by this moment in their nightmares for years to come.
Would I let Slope read to me? To my everlasting shame and despite the fact that he’s an asshole and I’m Jewish, yes, I’d let Slope read his sermons to me. He’s terrible and completely untrustworthy, but he’s got a great voice and, as the Stanhopes proves, his presence can be quite entertaining.
Next time: Just a couple of months after The Barchester Chronicles premiered, Rickman ushers in 1983 by finally scoring a lead role–in an hour-long BBC TV movie called Busted.