One of the defining moments of British popular culture came in 1995 when Colin Firth‘s Mr. Darcy disrobed and went plunging into a lake in BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. Now, 15 years later, BBC2 is giving us a lesbian answer to that sexy Victorian romance with The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister — only they’ve replaced the decorous Austen subtext with impossibly delicious main text.
Of course, main text is easy when your source material is a four million word diary that — once decoded — offers little gems like this:
Monday 29 January 1821 [Halifax] — I love and only love the fairer sex and thus beloved by them in turn, my heart revolts from any love but theirs.
September 1820 — Yet my manners are certainly peculiar, not all masculine but rather softly gentleman-like. I know how to please girls.
Sunday 14 September 1823 — At [first], we thought someone [was] breaking into the house but the continuance of the noises & the pattering of rain soon ushered in a tremendous thunder storm. Very vivid, fast-succeeding flashes of lightning enlightened the whole room. After some time came 1 or 2 tremendous peals of thunder & the heaviest rain I almost ever heard. In the midst of all this, we drew close together, made love & had one of the most delightfully long, tender kisses we have ever had.
(When Lister says "kiss" she means "orgasm," so go ahead and read that again.)
And I’m not finished tantalizing you!
[Maxine Peake as Lister] spends the next 90 minutes of the film playing this part with such intense, heart wrenching and rather arousing devotion that she turns Lister into the kind of romantic hero that would make Elizabeth Bennet weak at the knees.
But you don’t have to take our word for it anymore. On May 31, BBC2 will air The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister at 9 p.m. — and AfterEllen.com has an exclusive trailer that will turn you into a puddle of swoon.
If you’re not lucky enough to live in Britain, you’ll be able to catch Lister when it screens at the San Franciso Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in June. I’ve also got a more extensive post coming your way next week about the film, so stay tuned for that!
Here’s a question: If your straight friends can queue up P&P‘s lake scene on VHS in thirty seconds flat, how long is it going to take you to memorize The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister so you can do the same on your DVR?
Check back on Monday for the Great LezBritain interview with The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister writer Jane English (who also wrote several episodes of Sugar Rush).