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The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

OK, not a film but a BBC adaptation, but it seems the BBC can't cope with sad ending. Have they never watched Eastenders?

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OK, not a film but a BBC adaptation, but it seems the BBC can't cope with sad ending. Have they never watched Eastenders?
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Have they never watched Eastenders?

Apparently the screenplay adapter, Sarah Phelps, wrote for "Eastenders", so yeah! There's this, from her:

“Also, what works in a novel doesn’t always work on screen. Nobody wants a finger wagged in their face, and I learnt on EastEnders that if you just go ‘grim, grim, grim’, viewers will simply disengage."

That said, I haven't read Rowling's book (which does sound really depressing {wry grin}), and so I don't know if I would have hated her ending, or if the BBC changes would have felt like an improvement or if it would have destroyed the impact of the story - or something in between.
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Well, I have read the book and have been watching the tv adaptation too.

I can't say that for me the book was depressing, however it was fairly easy reading, felt non demanding and was not as deep as I had expected nor as startling as the press glories would have lead you to believe. There is some recognisable characterisation and a fairly well thought out storyline with inevitable flashbacks/ explanations and an ending that has an inevitability to it. Personally, I thought the ending to the book was fitting. The best drawn characters to my mind were the teenagers and somehow that too seemed inevitable.

The tv adaptation is not the same as the book even now (still to finish on tv at this time) and I'm having fun picking out the differences at it goes along. I do wonder what their ending is going to be but there have been some clues in the changes already perpetrated, and otherwise leaked, I think.
I've been pleasantly surprised at the tv cast and how well most have fitted the main adult characters, and although the emphasis has altered to the Parish Councillors from the teenagers, the actors playing the teenagers are also good.

Perhaps I'll return once the tv mini series has ended and add my thoughts on their end.
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I read the book when it came out and was really excited when I heard that it would be a mini-series for the BBC, but I just couldn't get into the series at all!
I tried watching the first episode, and found that many characters didn't really match with what I had envisaged, and the storyline started really slow, too, so I gave up!
I did like the book a lot, though!
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Now the series has ended and the impressions are still relatively fresh, I've come back to see if there is anything more on this.

I'm still of the opinion that the book was much more "realistic" to life these days than the over simplified, 'prettied up' script of the dramatisation. However, to be fair, the ending they manufactured was a reasonable compromise for the sake of dramatisation, much though it lost the grittyness as the book. Changing the whole emphasis of the storyline from the teenagers and how their actions influenced the outcomes of the situation to the Parish Councillors and their misdirected interreactions, somehow lost a lot of the drive for me - but it was not too bad an effort overall.

As always in these situations, I'm glad I did read the book first. Inevitably, the tv dramatisation never stands up to the imagination used when conjuring up your own images from the written word.

I've just also watched the "Arthur and George" tv dramatisation from Julian Barnes book as well but, to my mind, this suffered less from interference with the essence of the book. Yes, there were some obvious changes too (wow, was the time telescoped!) but the essential core of the storyline was there and the major scenes preserved - whereas in 'The Casual Vacancy', that was not the case.
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I've got to agree, the tv adaptation moved away from the teenages experiences, although Iwas wondering how they were going to deal with 'Fats' first sexual experiences. I listened to it on audio and I still find it harder to listen to descriptions of sexual activity, rather than reading them, especially when the wording is quite blunt. But that barely happened on TV. Other changes that annoyed me were Sam's shop becoming a sex shop for no reason rather than a 'larger ladies' underwear shop and it failed really quickly on the TV - plus there was nothing of her fantasties on TV which to me really showed the deterioration of her marriage. I think it ended up just being about a lot of stuck up NIMBYs. Plus I'm not sure I agree about the ending. There was only one death instead of two but she died heroically trying to save her brother instead of dying of a drugs overdose, the whole reason for the NIMBY attitude of the Pagford Councillors. I didn't really enjoy the book - it was grim - and the TV adaption was less grim but boring.

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