Serial Thriller

It is the scene most viewers remember from the 1995 television serialization of Pride and Prejudice, but Jane Austen never gave her readers Mr. Darcy emerging from a lake in clinging, dripping riding breeches and shirt. Welshman Andrew Davies did. His are the television adaptations of literary classics that have revealed rather more than appeared on the printed page. In doing so Davies has virtually cornered the market on the bonnets-and-bustles serials that TV programmers use to claim gravitas for their schedules.

This autumn Davies is monopolizing British airwaves with versions of Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago,...

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