New Bond girl Gemma Arterton stars as Tess, the spirited heroine, in BBC One’s new four-part adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Tess Of The D’Urbervilles. Eddie Redmayne plays Angel Clare.
Angel Clare is the son of a clergyman; Tess’s husband and true love. He considers himself a freethinker but his notions of morality turn out to be very conventional when he abandons Tess.
“What appealed to me about the project was instinct”, says Eddie. “I had a stronger emotional attachment to this script, than anything else I’ve ever read. I started reading the scripts and finished all of them within three hours. The character of Angel is liberal, a little bit out there for his time. He works at the Talbothay’s dairy farm, to get some practical experience of agriculture as he hopes to buy a farm one day, rather than follow in his father’s footsteps, as a clergyman.”
Tess realises quickly who Angel is when she arrives at the Talbothay’s dairy farm to work, they’ve already met briefly at the May Day parade, but its while working together on the diary farm and sharing a joyful summer together, that they fall in love.
“When Angel is really tested, on their honeymoon night, Tess reveals she is not a virgin, he proves he’s not at all liberal and can’t forgive her. It shows when confronted with reality, he reacts completely differently. Other things the audience can expect are a fabulous script from David Nicholls and the relationship that Angel has with his family and in particular his brothers is explored. You”ll see how Angel, as the ‘black sheep of the family’ goes out on a limb.
“Also in this adaptation, Tess’s purity and strength of character is very modern and we see a transformation from a girl to a woman. It highlights the difference to sex and relationships when it comes to men and women.”
Eddie explains why he thinks the character of Tess still has such appeal: “Hardy had the boldness to create a character with great strength at that time, which I think is what makes her so enduring and relevant today. Also the reality of life then, the day-in day-out toil with no respite, gives a real insight into those times.”
» Originally published here.