The Costume Drama: The Crimson Petal and the White

the crimson petal and the white, BBC2

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber was, arguably (and we’re very argumentative) the best book of its year. Focusing on a bourgeois married man who falls in love with Sugar, a common street prostitute, and sets about elevating her, it was a real fatboy (over 800 pages) but never left you feeling bloated as it swum around the brothels and no-go-zones of Victorian St. Giles and the newly-built mansions of Notting Hill. So we can think of no worthier recipient of the BBC full-bonnet treatment than what insiders are calling simply Petal. Basted with a genius cast – Romola Garai from Atonement, Gillian Anderson of X Files, Bleak House and the brilliant House of Mirth, Richard E. Grant and the superb Mark Gatiss – it begins on BBC2 (a good sign!) on Wednesday at 9pm.

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