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Friday, 5 April, 2002, 17:21 GMT 18:21 UK
The Forsyte Saga: Your views
The Forsyte Saga
Could ITV1's Forsyte Saga eclipse the BBC classic?
The Forsyte Saga was originally dramatised by the BBC in the 1960s, but now ITV1 has remade it for a 21st Century audience.

At the heart of this version of John Galsworthy's books are two relationships.

One is the loveless marriage between Soames Forsyte and Irene Heron.

The other is the illicit true love of Young Jolyon and Helene Hilmer.

"It is irresistible and if it remains as good as this opener, the BBC's 1960s version may be all but forgotten," wrote the BBC's William Gallagher.

But what do you think?

Do you remember the BBC's Foryste Saga? Is ITV1's version better?

Here is a selection of BBC News Online users' views.


I have the original series on video and have read all of the books as well - including the three books about the cousins of the Forsytes that the BBC did not dramatise in 1967.

When this new version was announced, I did think that to re-make a television classic would be an error but now I'm not so sure. The ITV version has followed the same path as the BBC by starting the story some years before the books begin.

Then, Soames was very much a product of his time whereas now he is portrayed as just a cold and cruel man - although it is very well done. The speed of this new version grips the audience but a lot of the comedy of the older Forsytes has been lost - particularly from Aunt's Julie and Hester and Uncle Swithin.

Damien Lewis and Rupert Graves are excellent but for me Nyree Dawn Porter will always be the definitive Irene.
Andrew Hanson, England

Fab, amazing, the hour and a half just flew by and I found myself wrapped up in the characters lives, loves and dreams! Can't wait till next week.
Scarlet Lloyd, UK

It's no more or less than the usual Sunday evening costume drama rubbish. No different, no better, no worse than the mass of rubbish that preceded it. It has only one saving grace. Jane Austen didn't write it.
Alex Keenleyside, England

I found that June's teacher and mother looked so similar that I was very confused as to how he was having an affair with his own wife. The costumes are excellent but the story is a bit slow. Maybe it will speed up next week now the scene has been set.
Louisa, UK

Damian Lewis is great but what an odd choice for his bride. Gina McKee is a good actress and a beautiful woman but she can't pass for a deb anymore and I can't see the rationale behind casting her. With so many standard issue costume drama actors cast elsewhere, it only jarred more. It was fair entertainment but left me feeling that the BBC might have done a better job of the remake themselves - it didn't grip me as much as BBC One's Turner programme shown earlier in the evening.
Claire O'Donovan, UK

Considering Dominique Cardle's comments I am surprised she will be watching again - let's hope she will not be so critical next time!! I thought the first episode was superb and am looking forward to seeing the remainder.
Jackie Butcher, UK

I didn't see the original Forsyte Saga. Based on the first episode, I would say that the new one is good but nothing very different from other dramas set at the same time. Damian Lewis is excellent as Soames Forsyte, and I'll watch anything with Ioan Gruffudd.
Kathryn Evans, UK

Sorry if this remark sounds ungallant, but I found the "leading ladies" plain and more or less interchangeable. A real disappointment.
Simon Helve, UK

Simon's coments are ungallant to say the least - the ladies were all making the most of their different looks, just as modern women do, and the choice of an actress with the then fashionable "pre-Raphaelite" face to play Irene is a stroke of casting genius.
Stephen James, London, UK

I thought the acting was top notch, the sets and costumes were beautiful, but overall I didn't find it as compelling as I thought I would. Period costume dramas are what we do best in Britain, but there was little to differentiate this one from all the others.
Robin Yellow, UK

Being a fan of costume dramas I had very much looked forward to the ITV adaptation but found myself very disappointed. The camera work was distracting, the editing was shockingly clumsy, the script was stilted and unconvincing. Worst of all was the casting of Irene Heron, though well played, the actress was surely too old to be convincing as the young and innocent Irene which not even the addition of a rather odd fringe could overcome. However, the actors (and editors) seemed to settle into their roles by the end of the first episode and I will be watching again.
Dominique Cardle, UK

Watched the original and loved it. Love this just as much, and can't wait till the next episode. The costumes are superb, the acting polished and the character's well suited to the actors. WELL DONE.
Helena Cooper, England

If future instalments in any way match the compelling viewing of the first hour and a half, then I am quite sure this will once again become compulsive Sunday night viewing across the nation.

The combination of appropriate casting and extremely natural and polished performances resulted in totally believable characters. Rupert Graves in particular portrayed the highly idealistic character of young Jolyon with tremendous compassion and sincerity from the outset and Damian Lewis puts across the irritating pompous snakelike qualities of Soames Forsyte perfectly, almost mirroring the two distinctive camps within this very traditional family.

It makes you ask the question which of these two central characters actually has the greatest sense of what is the truly right thing to do (whilst still accepting the consequences of that decision), and what is absolutely and outrightly wrong although the consequences would appear to be acceptable? In my view the new Foryste Saga is definitely a winner. Can't wait until next week.
Stuart Spence, Scotland

I think ITV's version is better than the BBC's old version, mainly because Ioan Gruffudd plays Bosinney!
Rachel Bosinney, England

See also:

29 Jun 01 | Wales
Forsyte Saga role for Gruffudd
11 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Forsyte Saga actress dies
24 Aug 99 | Entertainment
Television's crowning moments
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