Stripteases, brothels, wet dreams…
While Les Misérables screenwriter Andrew Davies has a reputation for sexing-up classic period dramas (remember Colin Firth sporting a wet shirt in Pride and Prejudice? And those incest scenes in War and Peace?), viewers were nevertheless shocked by the BBC1 drama’s “weirdly sexual” undertones on Sunday night.
Episode four saw Marius (Josh O’Connor) and his friends head to a brothel, where it was suggested that the Thenardiers’ daughter Eponine (Erin Kellyman) has been working as a prostitute.
Eponine had previously woken Marius with a peepshow, before blowing out her bedroom candle when he said he didn’t want the striptease to continue.
The episode also featured Marius having a vivid sex dream about both Cosette (Ellie Bamber) and Eponine.
“Marius having a wet dream about… Cosette and Eponine,” one viewer tweeted. “So. That happened.”
“Ooh er Marius… you’d never find Michael Ball [who originated the part of Marius in the West End musical version of Les Misérables] in a place like that,” one viewer tweeted during the brothel scene.
#LesMiserables adaptation is so weird,” another viewer commentated. “There’s so much that is straight out of the novel which is really well done and then they throw in things like Les Amis taking Marius to a brothel and Marius having an erotic dream featuring Eponine – like WTF?!”
Has Davies overdone the show’s raunchiness? One viewer found “all the sexual stuff… uncomfortable and unnecessary,” adding that they had “had all [their] hopes on episode 4. Very disappointing”.
“The book was grim but it wasn’t depraved,” another viewer tweeted.