Pre-Raphaelite paintings are some of my favourite pieces of art, and I’ve always been fascinated by the artists’ history – I took a module at university that examined the paintings’ relationship to literature and society. So when the BBC started showing a new drama, Desperate Romantics, based on the lives of the original PRB, I was very excited. Five weeks in, however, and the cracks are starting to show – or, I should say, the breasts are.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the need for artistic licence over actual history, so I can forgive the fact that three members of the Brotherhood have disappeared from view, along with Christina Rossetti. I also understand that the truth often gets in the way of a good story and the producers want to make the show appeal to modern viewers. But what I can’t forgive is the amount of screen time the BBC is devoting to the stunners’ “heaving beasts”.
This week’s episode had at least fifteen minutes of Rossetti having his end away with various women, complete with great camera close ups of bouncing bosoms. It also featured a really unappealing shot of a middle-aged man and a prostitute in a position more suited to the Fantasy Channel than good old Auntie. We’re rapidly moving away from a Moll Flanders’-style romp into porn territory.
Honestly, it’s not so much Tate Gallery as more Carry On Painting.
Rossetti is played by Aidan Turner. Now, as mentioned before, Aidan is my vampire of choice. Forget Robert Pattinson, Stephen Moyer et al – he puts them to shame. But I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to watch Being Human again – and the second series is currently being filmed – without remembering him in flagrante delicto with a bevy of nekked ladies. I mean, I can try (it isn’t exactly a hardship), but some images just won’t shift. I’m not a prude, and I’m not averse to a bit of nudity – especially in the form of the delicious Aidan – but it’s getting to the stage where the flesh is taking over the plot.
Morris’ wife Jane joins the action next week, who in real life Rossetti did actually have a long affair with, so god alone knows what the writers will do with this. All I can hope is that the breast count is reined in a bit and I can get on with enjoying the pretty pictures.