Decline and Fall, the BBC adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s novel of the same name has some surprising casting with David Suchet, best known as Agatha Christie’s Poirot, and Eva Longoria, known for the American series Desperate Housewives in lead roles of this dark comedy. First shown on BBC, this three-part miniseries premiered yesterday, and the reviews have been glowing, as Eva Longoria is showing that she’s not just a soap star, but she can pull off the brand of dry humor often associated with British comedies.
Moreover, the place to watch Decline and Fall and more shows from the U.K., Australia, Canada, New Zealand and more is on Acorn, which is a streaming service for Anglophiles everywhere, according to the Inquisitr. Acorn offers a number of exclusives just as they run in England on stations like BBC and ITV, including Midsomer Murders, Doc Martin, and Vera, starring Brenda Blethyn. Though Acorn doesn’t get the attention of a Hulu or Netflix, it provides many exclusives that Americans wouldn’t be able to see otherwise.
That's a wrap for me! What a pleasure working with the amazing Jack Whitehall and our great director Guillem Morales. Truly a dream job and to have been able to do it in Wales was icing on the cake! Thanks to the cast and crew for making me feel so welcomed and for teaching me some Welsh words! #DeclineAndFall #BBC
Actor Jack Whitehall stars as Paul Pennyfeather, whose Decline and Fall (and fall again) is the subject of the Evelyn Waugh series, and while you cheer for him, you know that the poor guy is cursed. The Los Angeles Times television critic called it “macabre but elegant,” as Pennyfeather’s life is on a slow roll, starting as a theology student at Oxford.
Decline and Fall is a period piece in the same vein as Brideshead Revisited. The comedy is set in 1928, mostly centered on the oddballs and misfits at a third rate boys school in Wales, where Pennyfeather ends up after being driven out of Oxford for an accidental streaking incident Waugh uses to mock the moneyed class.
After Pennyfeather’s shameful Oxford incident, the head of his college suggests that he go where all disgraced “perverts” end up, and that is in education.
“I expect you’ll want to become a schoolmaster — that’s what most gentlemen do that get sent down for indecent behavior.”
At the school in Wales that is considered the last chance academy for boys of wealth that have been dismissed from other boarding schools, Pennyfeather meets Dr. Fagan played by David Suchet, who seems to know that anyone who comes to work there is likely shifty, and perhaps running from the law.
“I’ve been in the scholastic profession long enough to know that nobody enters into it unless he has some very good reasons he is anxious to conceal.”
It is at the school in Wales that poor Pennyfeather meets a variety of colorful characters, whimsically named, including Lady Circumference and Lord Tangent, and then Margot Beste-Chetwynde, an American heiress, played by Eva Longoria. Longoria plays Pennyfeather’s love interest as the parent of one of his students.
Along the way, there are a few grizzly scenes that include an accidental shooting, some gangrene, and an amputation.
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However, even among the classically trained actors in the cast of Decline and Fall, Eva Longoria holds her own with quickly delivered lines and impressive comic timing. After Desperate Housewives wrapped up, Longoria was seldom seen but now, Longoria is back in Waugh’s Decline and Fall and the Fox series Empire as a guest star.
While to the combination of Longoria and Decline and Fall seems unusual, Longoria says she has always wanted to do a British series.
“Well, they’ll never cast me. What role could there possibly be for me in Downton Abbey? Or something like that? So when this came along, it was almost like it was written for me, even though it was written decades ago. It was a South American woman who was living in Britain. I just read it — it was hilarious, it was so witty, like a lot of the British comedies are. It was a period piece, which I never get to do – so all of that. And then I was a big fan of Jack Whitehall – so, it was just a perfect combination of circumstances.”
Longoria says that she loves satire, and Decline and Fall had everything she was looking for.
Are you interested in seeing Eva Longoria and David Suchet in Decline and Fall?
[Featured Image by Acorntv]