The daytime soap opera ‘Doctors’ recently spent a whole week of episodes based on the works of Jane Austen, using a patient with selective mutism who lives in her own fantasy world as Lizzie Bennet of Pride and Prejudice fame for the Monday and Tuesday instalments, titled ‘Austenland’, with other books such as Northanger Abbey and Emma dealt with later in the week. Lizzie (and Emma, the two characters seem to be merged) are played straight which makes a strange disconnect with the usual hospital shenanigans.
A parody of Austen’s books is nothing new (we may think of ‘Lost in Austen’) but this amusing idea of changing the doctors and nurses into bodices and crinoline works well enough as throwaway entertainment. A daytime audience made up of lovers of period drama is obviously the target for this soap, and some of the actors look as if they are enjoying the change of scene and script.
Doctors is usually a busy daytime drama set in a Midlands hospital and following the lives of the staff and patients, but it is fun watching the familiar faces portraying Darcy, Lady Catherine, Mr Collins, and Mrs Bennet! It does have a bit of ‘out of school’ feel though, or one of those Morecambe and Wise specials where Eric and Ernie and their hapless guest runs through one of the classics.
Read more about the special Austen week at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/galleries/p01hs8f1.