Reader reviews: What YOU thought of Burton and Taylor

From "mesmerising" to "epic" - BBC4's original drama Burton and Taylor gets a thumbs up from RadioTimes.com readers

Matthew Mclane, 16, Sunderland, says…

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The chemistry between the two leads was palpable, and whereas it originally seemed that West would be the star of the show, it was ultimately Bonham Carter who stole it, allowing her inner diva to shine as she portrayed the glamorously tardy and liberal Elizabeth Taylor with remarkable precision and revelry. Her fantastic performance, and that of her fellow cast, only added to Richard Laxton’s remarkable direction and William Ivory’s script, all of which collectively helped deliver a feature-length concoction of tension, romantic undertones and personal and professional turmoil.

If Burton and Taylor really is to be the last in BBC4’s long line of original dramas, what a great way to bow out.

Penny Garrod, 64, St Dominick, Cornwall, says…

Teetering and tottering, swathed in furs and permanently tipsy, Helena Bonham Carter’s Liz Taylor is totally mesmerising in this superb production for BBC4. Dominic West – all leonine head, Welsh intonation and permanently exasperated expression, is convincing as the great Richard Burton – struggling with dual addictions: the ex-wife, who is desperate to lead him astray, and booze. He’s given up both at this period in their lives, and the show (Noel Coward’s Private Lives) must go on, if only ‘Liz’ could put down the tumbler and pick up the script. She is always late; she winks at the audience, with tongue firmly in cheek, as the play mirrors her and Burton’s own ‘private lives’.

Producer, Lachlan MacKinnon, reveals the glitzy lifestyle: the yapping pooches, the doting flunkies, the raucous parties. Whilst Billy Ivory’s script captures both the passion and the pathos of the two stars lives after curtain call.

Tracey Shepherd, 48, Leicester, says…

I excitedly awaited the biopic that was Burton and Taylor! I was not disappointed. The story started slowly, as we were lulled gradually, into the vibrant and explosive relation, that was synonymous with Burton and Taylor.

Burton appeared resigned to the adulation that Taylor was garnished at every movement, yet he seemed tired and bored of it of it too. Lured by the money, he soon had flashbacks of their tumultuous relationship, as Taylor was “divaesque” at every opportunity, insisting that her parrot travel with her.

Yet despite his reticence, you saw a man who struggled with his deep love for her. Struggling to fight his deep passion for a woman that had ignited his life twenty years before, he knew, for his sanity that he could not succumb to her pursuit to reignite their love.

The final scene where they finally admit their love, will never die, but that they had to move on, was a tear jerker – like them, of epic proportions!

Courtney Fereday, 17, Christchurch, Dorset, says…

It is clear from the offset that by the time Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor started working on Private Lives there was a lot of tension between the pair. However we are also able to see the undeniable love they had for each other.

Their complex relationship is beautifully portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter and Dominic West. Rather than opting for a overplayed Burton impression West slips into character well with a soft welsh tone, whilst Carter doesn’t disappoint with her wonderful american accent and impeccable comic timing. Carter and West are both so far removed from the characters they play that they can be forgiven for not being grotesque enough to fully capture how hard the pairs lives had become.This BBC4 drama was eagerly anticipated and did not disappoint, it allowed us a look into the lives of two of America’s loved stars, and was more than enjoyable to watch.

Racquel Lagua, 22, from Australia, says…

Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter starred last night in BBC4’s Burton and Taylor and gave the film the life it needed.

Helena and Dominic portrayed Elizabeth Taylor’s and Richard Burton’s essence of life perfectly while William Ivory captured the audience attentions with an engaging introduction of the characters from the very beginning of the film. The way Helena and Dominic delivered Ivory’s words into the film translated pretty much exactly what happens back in the day as if they are the same person, not just acting out, but the lines just came out alive and it was fantastic. Both actors were incredibly fantastic and captured the audience attentions from the beginning of the film. The love, passion and most of all, the drama, brought out the lives that were hidden behind the curtains by the great acting and portrayal from both actors. A great biopic on a Monday night.

Thank you to everyone who sent in a review – we really enjoyed reading them! If you’ve got a taste for sharing your opinion, or these clever Radio Times readers have inspired you to put pen to paper (or, more accurately, fingertips to keyboard) keep your eyes peeled for the next Radio Times Reader Review…

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Originally published July 2013