BBC One’s The Pursuit of Love begins filming with Lily James, Andrew Scott and Dominic West

New three-part period comedy-drama is set around Europe between the wars.

Lily James, Pursuit of Love

BBC One has announced that filming has begun on a new version of Nancy Mitford’s classic novel, The Pursuit of Love, adapted by Emily Mortimer and co-starring Lily James, Andrew Scott, Emily Beecham and Dominic West.

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James plays lovestruck Linda Radlett and Beecham plays her cousin Fanny Logan in the tale of two privileged cousins, best friends on the hunt for ideal husbands around Europe between the two world wars. Far from being a dismal damsel, though, Linda is a “charismatic” and “fearless” feminist.

James said: “It’s great to be working with Emily. Her brilliant scripts bring new life to this story – full of love, full of friendship, very moving and sad in places, but also funny and true to life.”

The Pursuit of Love tracks Linda and Fanny across Europe as their comic adventures get them into various scrapes until, according to the BBC, “their friendship is put to the test as Fanny settles for a steady life and Linda decides to follow her heart, to increasingly wild and outrageous places”.

As society changes pace during the ’20s and ’30s, the diverging life choices of Linda and Fanny drive a deep wedge between their friendship.

Mortimer said: “I’ve always loved Nancy Mitford so when I was asked to adapt The Pursuit of Love it was impossible to say no.  It’s an outrageously funny and honest story, whose central character – the wild, love-addicted Linda Radlett – still reads as a radical.”

The 3 x hour-long series co-stars the kind of cast only a BBC period drama can attract. Andrew Scott plays Lord Merlin, an aristocratic and eccentric neighbour of Linda’s parents, who are played by Dominic West and Dolly Wells, who co-wrote and starred in Sky Living series Doll & Em with Mortimer.

Andrew Scott
Andrew Scott

Beattie Edmondson appears as Linda’s sister Louise, while Mortimer will not only write and direct but also stars as Fanny’s mother. Linda and Fanny’s admirers include Assaad Bouab, Shazad Latif and Freddie Fox.

BBC Controller of Drama Piers Wenger believes the adaptation will introduce The Pursuit of Love, first published in 1945, to a new generation of readers.

The Pursuit of Love will be filmed primarily around Bristol and Bath and producers emphasise the programme will adhere to strict health and safety protocols while the COVID-19 pandemic continues. It is a BBC co-production with Amazon Prime Video, which will host the series. in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

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