“A bold, magical period drama with stunning visual effects”
BBC One’s seven-part adaptation of Susannah Clarke‘s acclaimed novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell has arrived on DVD to deliver a bold, magical period drama with stunning visual effects and a tale of love, friendship, jealousy and vengeance at its core.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell tells the story of two very different English magicians in 1806, in the time of the Napoleonic war when practical magic is seen as a myth and legend of the past.
The reclusive and pernickety Mr Norrell (played by Eddie Marsan) with a little help from manservant Childermass, reveals his ability to perform practical magic by bringing the statues of York Cathedral to life, news travels fast prompting the government to enlist his help in defeating the French. In an effort to prove his ability he makes a deal with an evil fairy to bring back Lady Pole from the dead with serious consequences for Lady Pole and those around her.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Strange (played by Bertie Carvel) discovers he also has the gift in his initial attempts to prove his worth to his new wife Arabella, but whereas Norrell is cautious and particular to remain in control, the emergence of another magician who could outshine him leads him to take Strange on as an apprentice. However, it some becomes clear that the student is more powerful, arrogant and daring with his magic than his teacher, leading to jealousy as the two men go from being friends to enemies.
Marc Warren does a fantastic and fitting performance as the evil fairy who puppeteers the characters to his own ends. His performance is quietly menacing laced with charm without falling into pantomime dramatics. Paul Kaye, Alice Englert, Charlotte Riley and Enzo Cilenti also star.
Although initially a slow burn, the series really comes into its own as it progresses and the stories and characters intertwine. The fantasy genre has made a rare appearance on BBC One, bar Doctor Who, so to see the stunning special effects and climactic finale is thrilling to watch. Unlike many series the story is self-contained yet ambitious enough to be open to interpretation…
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is out to buy on DVD and Blu-ray now with over 20 minutes of exclusive footage and deleted scenes.