FAN­TASY OF MAGIC AND MAD­NESS

Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE COUCH - / AN­DREW FENTON

Try­ing to keep the ra­bid fans of a beloved book such as Jonathan Strange and Mr Nor­rell happy is dif­fi­cult enough for the mak­ers of a TV adap­ta­tion.

But keep­ing the orig­i­nal au­thor happy is even trick­ier — es­pe­cially when she’s on set.

Thank­fully, says Alice En­glert who plays Lady Pole in the BBC fan­tasy drama, Su­sanna Clarke wasn’t the slight­est bit pre­cious about the lib­er­ties they were tak­ing.

“She was around for quite a bit of the shoot­ing and was the sweet­est, kind­est spec­ta­tor,” says En­glert, daugh­ter of film­maker Jane Cam­pion. “There’s re­ally no hor­ror story.”

The minis­eries is about two men who bring magic back to Eng­land af­ter three cen­turies, with En­glert’s char­ac­ter be­com­ing col­lat­eral dam­age as a re­sult of be­ing raised from the dead (it doesn’t go too well).

“Su­sanna was re­ally aware of how the se­ries had taken on its own life and was re­ally was so happy to see that. … and I was just too young and too ex­cited to even be that con­sid­er­ate!” she laughs. Best known for Beau­ti­ful Crea­tures, En­glert is a hot tip to ap­pear in sea­son two of her mother’s TV se­ries Top of the Lake, be­ing filmed in Syd­ney.

“I think she’s fan­tas­tic,” says En­glert. JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NOR­RELL, BBC FIRST, THURS­DAY, 8.30PM

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