Twenty-five years ago today, the BBC’s beloved adaptation of Pride and Prejudice began airing on UK TV. By the time the show made its way to American airwaves a few months later, it was already a phenomenon.
And now it’s dessert.
Earlier this month, the British TV channel Drama launched its latest “Jane Austen Season” – i.e., three Sunday-night screenings of popular Austen adaptations -- by commissioning a six-foot-high sponge-cake likeness of Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy and planting it on the lawn at Lyme Park, the stately home that played Pemberley in the adaptation.
Created by cake designer Michelle Wibowo, the confection exhibits remarkable attention to detail (those sideburns! That draped linen!), even if it portrays its Darcy/Firth in a fully dressed state, rather than the more famous damp and disheveled.
The Drama channel seems to make a habit of hosting these Jane Austen seasons and planning elaborate publicity stunts to launch them: The 2017 version was an expert historical reconstruction of What Mr. Darcy Would Really Have Looked Like (spoiler: not as hunky as Colin Firth).
Yes, it’s all a bit silly. But it’s also an amazing testimony to the pop-culture staying-power of this particular mini-series. Most TV, even the expensive, beautifully costumed, high-production-values kind, is forgotten long before we get around to vacuuming the stray popcorn kernels out of the couch cushions. But not this one. Twenty-five years later, we’re still ready to dig in. Pass me a fork.