Nancy Mitford would ‘turn in her grave’ over TV adaptation, jokes Emily Mortimer

Emily Mortimer has joked that Nancy Mitford would be “turning in her grave” if she was to see her adaptation of the author’s 1945 novel The Pursuit Of Love.

Mortimer has written and directed the three-part series, which is set in Europe between the First and Second World Wars and follows the romantic adventures of Linda Radlett, played by Lily James.

The production aimed for a modern feel and uses contemporary music across the episodes.

Andrew Scott as Merlin (BBC Studios/Steve Schofield/PA)
Andrew Scott as Merlin (BBC Studios/Steve Schofield/PA)

Speaking during an online event as part of the BFI & Radio Times TV Festival, Mortimer discussed how she settled on the tone.

She said: “I just don’t want to let this book down. And God knows, if Nancy Mitford saw it she would probably just be turning in her grave. I don’t know.

“But I did feel that at least I wanted to feel the excitement and the danger and the longing and the irreverence I feel when I am reading the book, when I am watching the show.

Lily James in The Pursuit Of Love (Steve Schofield/BBC Studios/PA)
Lily James in The Pursuit Of Love (Steve Schofield/BBC Studios/PA)

“I was trying all of the ways of communicating that visually. I was trying to think of films that I have loved that were maybe set in another time but didn’t feel like they were about people in a bygone era in dusty costumes, and felt like they were about you as you were watching it.”

Executive producer Charles Collier also confirmed that, if the show was a ratings success, the team would look into adapting another Mitford novel, 1949’s Love In A Cold Climate.

He said: “I think that is next. If audiences take this to their hearts, we would love to come back and look at Love In A Cold Climate. Fingers crossed.”

The Pursuit Of Love airs on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on May 9 at 9pm. All three episodes will then be available to watch as a boxset on BBC iPlayer.