‘Mansfield Park’ (2007) (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

Romance with Fanny Price

Billie Piper stands out for me in this ITV version of a Jane Austen classic!

I enjoyed seeing ‘Mansfield Park’ on DVD! I was aware of a few of Jane Austen’s works like ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Sense and Sensibility’, but was unaware with others like ‘Emma’, ‘Northanger Abbey’ and ‘Persuasion’. So it was good to actually see a TV version of ‘Mansfield Park’ and know the story.

Of course, the attraction of seeing this period TV drama was the starring of Billie Piper as Fanny Price. Billie is well-known as Rose Tyler in ‘Doctor Who’ and it wasn’t long after starring in the TV series that she appeared in this. I found it interesting that Billie would star in this Jane Austen drama.

I knew it would be difficult to take Billie Piper seriously, since she was well-established in my mind as Rose Tyler and not as Fanny. But I was determined to see what she was like in this TV version of ‘Mansfield Park’. Whilst there are traces of Rose in her as Fanny, I greatly enjoyed her performance.

This version of ‘Mansfield Park’ is a TV movie made by ITV and it was shown on ITV1 as part of ‘The Jane Austen Season’ shown in the UK in 2007. I didn’t see this on TV itself, but I was aware of it after seeing a trailer for it on ITV1. It eventually came out on DVD and I saw it with my parents afterwards.

‘Mansfield Park’ is the story of a young girl named Fanny Price. She is sent out of her home by her mother due to poverty to live with her wealthy relatives at Mansfield Park. At the age of 18, Fanny falls in love with her cousin Edmund. But her feelings are at risk when two Londoners come and visit.

The two Londoners are the Crawfords, Mary and Henry, who are both brother and sister. They upset the peace as they flirt with the Bertrams. Edmund soon falls for Mary and Henry tries to win Fanny’s heart. Fanny, still in love with Edmund, is unwilling to take Henry as her suitor and make her happy.

I liked the simple love story that was going on with Billie Piper as Fanny falling in love with Edmund. I could feel some of the emotions coming through from the performances and found it really engaging. I wondered what would happen and hoped Fanny would win Edmund’s heart in the story.

It was interesting to see Billie play someone who was humble and not so wealthy and privileged as her cousins, aunt and uncle are at ‘Mansfield Park’. This was a contrast to how Billie played Rose in ‘Doctor Who’. It was easy to identify Billie’s laughter when she was Fanny as it was similar to Rose’s.

Blake Ritson stars as Edmund Bertram, Fanny’s cousin who she falls in love with. Edmund is a sensitive soul and is learning to be a clergyman. It’s easy to see why Fanny would fall in love with Edmund. He confides in Fanny in making the right decision and they always seem close in friendship.

But Edmund is blind in love, as he falls for the wrong girl in Hayley Atwell’s Mary Crawford. Fanny sees this, but doesn’t do anything to interfere in his decision with choosing to marry Miss Crawford or not. It was interesting to see the difference in Edmund’s relationships to both Fanny and to Mary.

Hayley Atwell stars as Mary Crawford. Hayley has starred in ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ and also worked with Billie Piper in ‘The Sally Lockhart Mysteries’. Mary is a London girl and is an opposite to Fanny who is a country girl. It was interesting to see how Mary tries to win Edmund over.

But it’s for the wrong reasons, since Mary would rather not have Edmund as a clergyman. Eventually Edmund begins to doubt his feelings towards Mary and he confides this with Fanny at times. I enjoyed Hayley’s performance as Miss Crawford, as she plays it so honestly in a rather selfish way.

Joseph Beattie stars as Henry Crawford. Henry is the rather naughty of the two Crawfords that visit Mansfield Park. Both he and Mary confide in each other as they make plans to try to marry one of the Bertrams each as they arrive in ‘Mansfield Park’. Eventually Henry tries to woo and marry Fanny.

I liked seeing how Fanny resists Henry’s attempts to propose marriage to her. Fanny can clearly see that Henry isn’t the man for her, especially as he tried to flirt with Michelle Ryan’s Maria, who is engaged to Mr. Rushworth. Very soon, Henry Crawford’s true colours get revealed to the Bertrams.

Michelle Ryan stars as Maria Bertram, one of Edmund’s sisters. Michelle is well-known for being in ‘EastEnders’ and I’ve seen her as Lady Christina from ‘Planet of the Dead’ in ‘Doctor Who’. It was nice to see Michelle in ‘Mansfield Park’ and to play someone who gets easily seduced by Henry Crawford.

There’s also Jemma Redgrave as Lady Bertram. I’ve met Jemma in real-life at a convention, since she plays Kate Stewart in ‘Doctor Who’. It was nice to see her in this Jane Austen classic before she did ‘Doctor Who’. There’s also Douglas Hodge as Sir Thomas Betram, who I’ve seen in a BBC version of ‘Middlemarch’.

There’s also James D’Arcy (who I’ve seen in a TV version of ‘Nicholas Nickleby’) as Thomas Bertram, one of Edmund’s brothers and Catherine Steadman as Julia Bertram, one of Edmund’s sisters. There’s also Joseph Morgan as William Price, Fanny’s brother and Rory Kinnear as James Rushworth.

There’s also Maggie O’Neil (who played Lysandra Aristedes in the Big Finish audios of ‘Doctor Who’) as Mrs. Norris. I didn’t like it when Mrs. Norris sometimes treated Fanny unfairly and even accuses her for things she didn’t do. I was glad when Mrs. Norris eventually left Mansfield Park by the end.

‘Mansfield Park’ was filmed at Newby Hall in North Yorkshire, England. I enjoyed the country scene setting at ‘Mansfield Park’, as it feels so open-air whenever the characters are outside enjoying themselves at Fanny’s birthday picnic and when Fanny and Edmund get to play games of badminton.

There are no DVD special features for this ITV version of ‘Mansfield Park’, I’m afraid. This was a surprise, as I was expecting to see some behind-the-scenes interviews with Billie Piper and the cast. It would have been nice to hear Billie’s thoughts on how she found playing Fanny in ‘Mansfield Park’.

This TV movie of ‘Mansfield Park’ has been a joy to see. I enjoyed seeing Billie Piper, who stands out for me from this Jane Austen classic. It’s difficult to see her as a Jane Austen character after seeing her in ‘Doctor Who’. But I’m so pleased Billie had a go in appearing something different and unusual.

‘Mansfield Park’ (2007) rating – 8/10

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