The Mother Of All Mysteries

By Ben Felsenburg

Long before Agatha Christie or Dorothy l. Sayers, there was Wilkie Collins. The Victorian novelist pioneered the thriller as we know it, not only in the moonstone but first in the book that made his name, The Woman in White (sunday, BBc1, 9pm). one of those stonking blockbusters that lends itself well to costume drama adaptations, the mystery has seen life as an Andrew lloyd Webber stage musical and repeatedly on screen, too, most recently on the BBC in 1997. now, it’s back in a new five-part series that craftily unsettles you from the off. The costumes are eccentrically Bohemian for the 19th century (a lady in trousers!), and the atmosphere is thick with mystery and menace. charming young artist Walter (Ben hardy) is shocked by the apparition of a woman in white who burbles an alarming message of doom, shortly before falling for his new pupil, the lovely Laura Fairlie (Olivia Vinall). Of course, the course of true love cannot run smoothly; the clumsy Sir Percival (Dougray Scott) believes Laura to be his betrothed, and shocking revelations soon shatter budding romance. The opening episode may stretch your patience, but stick with what proves to be an increasingly captivating affair, blessed by a deliciously hammy Charles dance as Walter’s employer Mr Frederick Fairlie.