Howards End

The Sunday Telegraph - - Television & Radio -

EM Forster’s Ed­war­dian mas­ter­piece had a hand­some Mer­chant Ivory makeover in 1992 and re­ceived a clutch of Os­cars. Now it’s the BBC’s turn to take on this morally com­plex novel, serv­ing up a gen­er­ous four-part ver­sion and hir­ing an Os­car win­ner of their own – writer Ken­neth Longeran ( Manch­ester

By the Sea) – to adapt it. Tonight’s open­ing episode is a sparkling, en­er­getic af­fair. We meet the two fam­i­lies whose in­ter­twin­ing fates drive the plot. There’s the bo­hemian Sch­legel clan and the staid, enig­matic Wil­coxes, drawn to­gether when im­petu­ous He­len Sch­legel (Philippa Coulthard) is in­vited to stay at the Wil­coxes coun­try pile, and has a brief dal­liance with their youngest son. The per­for­mances are first-rate, es­pe­cially from Hay­ley Atwell, who’s tremen­dous as Mar­garet, the older Sch­legel sis­ter, and Tracey Ull­man, who plays the girls’ nervy aunt. Toby Dantzic

Matthew Mac­fadyen and Hay­ley Atwell star in ‘Howards End’ (above); Char­lotte Ri­ley re­turns in ‘Peaky Blin­ders’ (below, left)

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