Monday, February 15, 2016

Male on Monday - James Norton

Pink Heart Society editor, Ali Williams, is mourning the end of the BBC's War and Peace, and is binge-watching James Norton's previous period drama reincarnations to make up for it!

I've a soft spot for period dramas, and so I got very excited ahead of the BBC's recent production of War and Peace.  I watched it; I fell in love with everything from the characters to the cinematography, and I've been left fairly destitute in its wake.

I've never actually read the novel (an oversight which, after having watched the series, I've begun to rectify pronto!) but I found myself gripped.  

It's got a fantastic cast, but one actor who particularly stood out was James Norton as Prince Andrei Bolkonsky in a performance which was layered without being overwrought.

And so, in this post-W&P world, I've decided to rewatch some of my favourite period dramas in the last couple of years.  And that was when I discovered that Norton pops up everywhere!!  (I'd like to point out that I travel for four hours a day, to and from work, so I have a lot of time on my hands)  

I started with one of my favourite literary adaptations from last year:  Lady Chatterley's Lover.  Norton played Sir Clifford Chatterley, Lady Chatterley's husband, in a way that actually made him into a character that we understood, even if we didn't completely like him.

Admittedly, he's sporting a World War I mustache, but you can't have everything.

That got me thinking and so I started dipping in and out of other dramas.  Life in Squares was next, a drama about the Bloomsbury Group, in which Norton plays Duncan Grant whose complicated relationship with Vanessa Bell (Virginia Woolf's sister) forms the backbone of the series.

It's a drama that made me cry the first time round, and this viewing was no different!

Moving sideways, I ended up at Death Comes to Pemberley, a murder mystery that takes place after the events of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.  

Norton plays Mr Henry Alveston, a gentlement who soon becomes enchanted by Georgiana Darcy.

And finally, I ended up at Blandings, a comedy series that adapts P. G. Wodehouse's novel series.  Norton doesn't have a recurring role, but stars as Jimmy Belford, the very unsuitable suitor of Angela.  It's very slapstick and very very funny.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg!  He's also starred as vicar Sidney Chambers in the 1950s detective drama Grantchester, and acted in any number of historical-based films (including Mr Turner, Belle, Northmen:  A Viking Saga, Rush and An Education).

So I don't know what it is that attracts him to period drama and historical film roles, but he does such a good job, that I'm delighted that he does!

What's your favourite James Norton role?  And are there any actors or actresses that you notice pop up in historical roles regularly?  Join in the discussion in the comments!

Ali Williams grew up in Croydon and spent her teenage years in a convent girls’ school. She then fled to university where she discovered champagne cocktails, a capella singing and erotica.

These days she blogs about perceptions of romance, chick lit and women in society and spends the rest of her time promoting #StrongRomanceHeroines on Twitter, and cracking on with her first novel, Breakfast in Tunford.

Editor for the Pink Heart Society, guest blogger for Mills & Boon and Harper Impulse, and occasional columnist for For Books' Sake, she defies you to slam romance novels within her hearing!

1 comment:

  1. James Norton looks handsome in a cravat, but I'm disappointed that he doesn't physically resemble Prince Andrei Bolkonsky. Threaded through the narrative of the book War and Peace (which I love and have read five times) is a wealth of detail about Prince Andrei's facial features, complexion, physique, expressions and mannerisms. Russian actor Vyacheslav Tikhonov was breathtaking in this role, not just because he was gorgeous, but because he prompts a thrill of recognition as a perfect incarnation of Tolstoy's tragic hero.