Dir: Susanna White | Scr: Tom Stoppard | Novels: Ford Madox Ford | Ph: Mike Eley | Prod: David Parfitt & Selwyn Roberts | Mus: Dirk Brossé | Ed: Jason Krasucki, Kristina Hetherington, & Tim Murrell | PD: Martin Childs | AD: Nick Dent & Merijn Sep | Snd: Srdjan Kurpjel | Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall, Adelaide Clemens, Roger Allam, Anne-Marie Duff, Rupert Everett, Stephen Graham, Clare Higgins, Miranda Richardson, Sasha Waddell
A principled, fiercely intelligent statistician goes to war unable to resolve the feelings that he has for both his cheating, manipulative wife, with whom he has a child, and a passionate and inquisitive yet rather naïve young suffragette, with whom he shares an intense unconsummated love. Set against the entirety of The First World War, and based upon Ford Madox Ford’s four novel series, this handsomely crafted television serial has much material upon which to draw – too much, it would seem, as it often feels horribly rushed. The first three parts whiz by in a dizzying haze, before settling down in the fourth and fifth to a more enjoyable, digestible pace. However, the ending, if anything, is more hurried than all that had come before. Never the less, the mesmeric performances of the ever-reliable Cumberbatch and Hall, given able support by the promising young Aussie Clemens, more than hold the attention throughout.