I have suffered for years knowing that a version of Pride and Prejudice exists that I had never seen. Luckily the Kewaunee Public library system had a copy of the 1980 Pride and Prejudice BBC production and I finally found the time (while nursing an infant in the middle of the night) to watch it.
The 1980 BBC version is a mini-series and as such, tells a lot more of the story than either movie version. The 1980 P&P largely sticks to the novel, although there are a few slight changes in dialogue, places of action, etc. The most noticeable change for me is that Elizabeth spends much of her time at the beginning of the mini-series talking with Charlotte and doesn’t seem to spend any time at all with Jane. Also the ending left out a lot and seemed actually rather abrupt. Otherwise, I loved how the mini-series had the time to tell the entire story.
While the 1980 P&P obviously lacked the budget of the 1995 P&P, it still did a great job at telling the story. It does not have the “made for TV on one sad set look” that many BBC productions of the 1970s and 1980s are prone too, although it does lack the lushness of the 1995 version.
I was pleasantly surprised by the two leads of the 1980 version. I thought David Rintoul was an excellent Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Garvie was also an excellent Elizabeth Bennet. I still prefer Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, but I think Garvie is definitely among the best for Elizabeth Bennet. I give her a tie as my favorite Elizabeth with Jennifer Ehle.
Overall I thought the 1980 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice was quite good and I highly recommend it to anyone who has not seen it. I rank it behind the 1995 mini-series as one of my favorite productions of the book. I enjoyed the 2005 movie, but I think both mini-series are much more enjoyable as they are able to tell so much more of the story.
The 1980 Pride and Prejudice was my seventh item in the Everything Austen Challenge II.