The 40th anniversary season of Masterpiece Classic continues tomorrow night with a new three-part contemporary drama Any Human Heart at 9:00 pm (check local listings) on PBS. Based on William Boyd’s acclaimed 2002 novel, he also adapted it for the screen. Following the life of writer Logan Mountstuart, three actors portray him during different stages of his life: younger years by Sam Claflin, middle years by Matthew MacFadyen (Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice 2005) and older years by Jim Broadbent.
As Mountstuart travels to 1920s Paris to 1950s New York and 1980s London, we witness some compelling history and meet dazzling personalities: Ernest Hemingway (Julian Ovenden), Ian Fleming (Tobias Menzies) and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (Gillian Anderson and Tom Hollander) to name a few. The many women in his life include: first fling Tess Scabius (Holliday Grainger), first girlfriend Land Fothergill (Charity Wakefield, Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility 2008), first wife Lottie (Emerald Fennell), second wife Freya Deverell (Hayley Atwell, Mary Crawford in Mansfield Park 2007) third wife Allanah (Natasha Little), later fling Gloria Scabius (Kim Cattrall), and guy friends Peter Scabious (Samuel West) and Ben Leeping (Ed Stoppard). As you can see, the cast is as amazing as the story itself.
Any Human Heart aired in the UK last Fall. Its North American premiere is the second new production in the 2011 Masterpiece Classic season following the universally popular four-part historical drama Downton Abbey. It is filled with incredible events and amazing characters from real life that the fictional Logan Mountstuart encounters. It reminded me of a British version of Forrest Gump (I thought this before I read the reviews, so I am obviously not alone) whereby an average person’s life is shaped by extraordinary events and real-life personalities. Besides a griping performance by Matthew Macfayden, Gilliam Anderson offers a wicked Duchess of Windsor and Hayley Atwell continues to awe and enchant.
- Interview of Gillian Anderson – Los Angeles Times
- Glacial pace, heavy soul – Review in the San Francisco Chronicle
- A Long Life That Peaks Quite Young – Review in the New York Times
- Visit the Any Human Heart web site at Masterpiece PBS
Images courtesy © MASTERPIECE