All posts by Jennifer Abella

About Jennifer Abella

Jennifer Abella is a TV/movie/pop culture/knitting/sewing/Jane Austen geek. Oh, and a total Anglophile. Follow her on Twitter: @nextjen.

Mr. Darcys, ranked

darcys.pngMany Darcys have come to life on screens big and small over the years, but who’s the Darcy to rule them all? Here’s our ranking — taking into account only major adaptations of “Pride and Prejudice.” Disagree? Think we’re missing someone? Sound off in the comments.

9. William Darcy in 2004’s “Bride and Prejudice”: This Darcy (Martin Henderson) is a wealthy American traveling to India with his British Indian friends, brother and sister Balraj (Naveen Andrews) and Kiran (Indira Varma). However, Darcy is, well, boring, which is sad, especially when this is an otherwise colorful and fun adaptation. 

8. Will Darcy in 2003’s “Pride and Prejudice”: Darcy (Orlando Seale) here is a snobby businessman who clashes with aspiring writer Elizabeth in this adaptation. He’s a little stilted but has a teeny bit more personality than Darcy in “B&P.”

7. Darcy in 2016’s “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”: As a masterful zombie killer this Darcy (Sam Riley) has formidable fighting skills and goes head to head about Lizzy, who’s no slouch at fighting either. But he’s just a little too wooden for our tastes, his voice a little too raspy and his leather coat a little too squeaky.

6. Darcy in 2005’s  “Pride and Prejudice”: Matthew MacFadyen’s iteration is more shy and misunderstood than he is haughty and taciturn. While the added dimension is appreciated, it makes this Darcy more emo than anything else. We need more fire. 

5. William Darcy in 2012-2013’s “Lizzie Bennet Diaries”: If you watched the series live, you might remember “Darcy Day,” when Darcy finally showed up on screen after a very long wait. Up until that point, he had been referenced only by name and Lizzie’s (very biased) role-playing. This Darcy is a hipster one-percenter with a newsboy cap, a bow tie and a multimedia company to run. Reserved and utterly uncomfortable on camera, he can be an endearing but divisive Darcy; some people think he was worth waiting for, while others beg to differ.

4. Mark Darcy in 2001’s “Bridget Jones’s Diary”: Human-rights barrister Mark Darcy (Colin Firth, more on him later) is the epitome of stiff-upper-lip British elite with a heart of gold in this adaptation of the book of the same name. Mark may not be able to fully express his feelings, and he may lack fighting skills, but he’s earnest and droll and ultimately lovable.

3. Mr. Darcy in 1940’s “Pride and Prejudice”: Did you expect Laurence Olivier to be ranked lower? His Darcy is lively, witty and just delightful.

2. Mr. Darcy in 1980’s “Pride and Prejudice”: David Rintoul’s Darcy has it all: pride, prejudice — and a heart that shines through the screen. 

1. Mr. Darcy in 1995’s “Pride and Prejudice”: We all know Colin Firth is the definitive Darcy — the one all other Darcys are compared to. He’s conceited and snobby and yet the soulful looks he gives Lizzy don’t go unnoticed.

How did your favorite Elizabeth rank? We’ve got a list for you!

There’s a ‘Pride and Prejudice’ for that

Depending on your mood, there’s a “Pride and Prejudice” adaptation out there for you, whether in movie or serial form. And the ones below aren’t the only adaptations out there either!

tp.prideandprejudice.0.0.jpgClassic: You can’t go wrong with the 1995 adaptation, written by Andrew Davies, who — for better or worse — sexed up the material with the infamous Darcy wet-shirt scene. Like it or not, Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle defined the characters, and all other iterations are compared to them.

Hidden gem: The 1980 adaptation gets overlooked, but it features compelling turns by Elizabeth Garvey and David Rintoul as Lizzie and Darcy. This is one to discover if you haven’t seen it.

Boldest: “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” brings “Pride and Prejudice” to the 21st century with this vlog-format web series that transforms Lizzie into a struggling communications grad student and Darcy into a hipster one-percenter. 

Music and dance: Gurinder Chadha’s Bollywood take on Austen, “Bride and Prejudice,” stands out for its soundtrack and dances.  Warning: Once “No Life Without Wife” gets in your head, it may never leave. And as beautiful as traditional English country dances are in period adaptations, the dances in this film make you want to get up on your feet, too.

1940 “Pride and Prejudice”

Lighthearted: Okay, so it’s not the most faithful adaptation — the costumes alone! — but Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier bring the chemistry in the 1940 adaptation, written in part by Aldous Huxley. Best scene in this adaptation: Darcy mansplaining (a fully capable) Lizzy about archery. 

Outlandish: 2016’s “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” is an adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s supernatural adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice”  in which the Bennets and Mr. Darcy must fight off zombie hordes. If you’re in the mood for an inventive mashup, this is one to watch. Just close your eyes during the gory parts.


Funniest Collins: Mr. Collins is the punchline in most every adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice,” but if you’re looking for the funniest, my money’s on Matt Smith as the bumbling parson in “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” Just watch the outtakes if nothing else.

Confessionals: If you’re into heroines pouring out their souls, it’s a tossup between “Lizzie Bennet Diaries,” with characters who look directly at the camera, and “Bridget Jones’s Diaries,” whose heroine loves journaling like nobody’s business.

lydiagif.gifBest Lydia: In the “Lizzie Bennet Diaries,” Mary Kate Wiles (pictured here) portrays Lydia with a vulnerability not often seen in iterations of the character. This Lydia is feisty and always down for a good time — but she’s also craving her sisters’ attention and approval, and her story arc with Wickham is heartbreaking.

Fight scenes: “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” wins the prize for fight scenes. Sparks fly when Lizzy and Darcy spar — not just figuratively but literally, weapons in hand. And it’s not just Lizzy who enters the fray — the Bennet sisters are a force to be reckoned with.

2005 “Pride and Prejudice”

Nature: The cinematography in the 2005 adaptation really highlights the natural backdrops to the action. You can’t help notice the wild beauty of England when you see Lizzy on a rocky outcrop or Bingley practicing his proposal with Darcy by an idyllic pond.

“The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”

Female friendships: “Lizzie Bennet Diaries” explores complicated female relationships from many angles. Lizzie grapples with change as Jane’s romance with Bingley blooms; Lizzie and Lydia try to find common ground; Lizzie and Charlotte navigate changes in their friendship and in their professional partnership as the series progresses. But their bonds, though tested, are unbreakable.

Do you have a favorite adaptation? Let us know!


The stately homes that would be Pemberley

“She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in their admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!”

In film adaptations, Lizzy is stunned when she sees the Pemberley — and so is the viewer. What real-life stately homes have stood in for Darcy’s (sadly fictional) estate? Here’s a sampling:

Chatsworth (Photo: Jennifer Abella)

Chatsworth House in Derbyshire in northern England was the shooting location for some Pemberley scenes in the 2005 “Pride and Prejudice” and 2013’s “Death Comes to Pemberley.” Although it’s undergone many changes over its lifetime, Chatsworth has been the home of the Cavendishes (Duke and Duchess of Devonshire) dating to the 16th century. When you watch the films, keep an eye out for the checkered floor of Chatsworth’s grand Painted Hall. And in the 2005 film, you’ll see the sculpture gallery, too. Fun fact No. 1: Yes, Chatsworth does still have that bust of Mr. Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen) from the movie. Fun fact No. 2: If the house and Keira Knightley give you deja vu, it’s because she returned to Chatsworth to film her role as Georgiana Spencer Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, in the 2008 film “The Duchess.”

Inside Wilton House

Other interior scenes in the 2005 “Pride and Prejudice” were filmed at Wilton House, the home of the Earl of Pembroke since 1544, in Salisbury, England. If the room looks familiar in the scene where Lizzy meets Georgiana, it’s because it was also used for scenes in the Netflix series “The Crown.” The exterior was recently seen in 2017’s “Tomb Raider” with Alicia Vikander.

In “Death Comes to Pemberley,” some of the interior scenes were filmed at Yorkshire’s Harewood House, which dates to the 18th century. Fun fact: Jenna Coleman — who played Lydia in “Death Comes to Pemberley” — stars as the young titular queen in the PBS TV series “Victoria,” which has also filmed at Harewood.

The Pemberley in the 1995 “Pride and Prejudice” is also an amalgam of a number of stately homes in Britain. Lyme Park in Cheshire, with its Italianate facade, served as the exterior of Pemberley in the 1995 “Pride and Prejudice.” It’s been the home of the Legh family for 600 years. If you go, it offers a “Pride and Prejudice” walking tour, including, yes, The Pond (the site of the Darcy “wet shirt” scene — although several ponds were used in filming).

Sudbury Hall was used for the interiors of the 1995 Pride and Prejudice, including the flashback scene to the library at Pemberley with Darcy and Wickham. The late-17th-century house is situated in Derbyshire, about 30 miles from Chatsworth. Sudbury is also home to the National Trust Museum of Childhood, highlighting the lives of children over the centuries.

Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire was also used for Pemberley’s interiors, as well as acting as Cambridge in the Darcy-at-university flashbacks. The abbey was founded in 1232, although the original cloister was torn down in the 1400s and replaced with the current structure. The home, which has undergone many renovations, is also the birthplace of photography: William Henry Fox Talbot created the first photographic negative here in 1835. (You might also have seen Lacock Abbey in “Wolf Hall.”) The village of Lacock also stood in for Meryton.

Renishaw Hall

Renishaw Hall in Derbyshire was Pemberley in the 1980 Pride and Prejudice. It’s been home to the Sitwell family for well more than 400 years. It’s said to have inspired D.H. Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterley’s Lover.” The home is known for its Italianate gardens.