This adaptation of Dorothy Sayers’ Peter Wimsey mystery An Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club features Derek Newark, whom I rather liked, as Bunter. He and Ian Carmichael as Peter have a wonderful scene as they prepare to begin questioning the denizens of the Bellona Club about the General’s death; Newark manages to look quite offended when Ian Carmichael tells him he’s too tidy to be disguised as a journalist, a comment that’s borne out later on when we meet journalist Salcombe Hardy.

Marjorie Phelps, one of my favorite characters from the series, is present in this adaptation to great effect, played by Phyllida Law! (She’s the mother of actresses Emma and Sophie Thompson.) Anna Cropper gave a nuanced performance as Ann Dorland. I love seeing the portrayal of women in non-traditional roles.

I haven’t much else to say about this one. As usual with the Carmichael adaptations, it sticks fairly close to the actual novel. The main difference is that the tv version is more direct in pointing up the World War I experiences of George Fentiman and of Peter, and actually shows George wandering around in a “shell-shocked” fit. Also, a poppy in the lapel for Remembrance Day becomes an important plot point. When I first saw this on television, I was young enough to have very little knowledge of the First World War; I think seeing reading these books and viewing this series were among the things that piqued my interest in the period. It’s one thing to read about George’s problems with his stomach, another to understand that his physical troubles were caused by exposure to poison gas and realize the true horror of his situation.

Book: An Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club