MCM: Mr. Willoughby

23

Oh, Willoughby. The poetry-loving, romantic, chivalrous, deeply feeling love of your life… til he jilts you for Miss Grey and her 10,000 pounds. Jane Austen knows how to write them, and Marianne’s love interest in Sense and Sensibility is a type that’s still far too accurate. That being said, he sure is damn cute! So let’s enjoy some Willoughby’s, shall we?

 

Sense and Sensibility (1971)

In the 1971 BBC miniseries, he was played by Clive Francis — who was also in Romeo and Juliet (1965), David Copperfield (1966), Middlemarch (1968), The Gathering Storm (1974), Churchill’s People (1975), the original Poldark (1975) as Francis, Caesar and Cleopatra (1976), As You Like It (1978), The Far Pavilions (1984), The Crown (2016-17) as Lord Salisbury, and The Little Stranger (2018) among many, many productions.

1971 Clive Francis in Sense and Sensibility

Far too many hot rollers have been used here for me to find this guy attractive.

1971 Clive Francis in Sense and Sensibility

 

Sense and Sensibility (1981)

Yet another BBC miniseries. Going blonde again with Peter Woodward of Testament of Youth (1979), Fanny by Gaslight (1981), The House of Eliott (1992), The Patriot (2000), and Dracula (2013).

1981 Peter Woodward in Sense and Sensibility

Ok, a rare blonde I can get excited about!

1981 Peter Woodward in Sense and Sensibility

 

Sense and Sensibility (1995)

In the Emma Thompson-adapted feature film version, he was played by (one of) my boyfriend(s) Greg Wise, who you also know from The Buccaneers (1995) as Guy Thwaite, The Moonstone (1996), Madame Bovary (2000), Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (2005), Cranford (2007-09) as Sir Charles Maulver, Effie Gray (2014) as John Ruskin, The Crown (2016-17) as Lord Mountbatten, and Carmilla (coming soon).

Sense And Sensibility 1995

He’s wet, ladies!

1995 Sense & Sensibility 1995 Sense & Sensibility

 

Sense & Sensibility (2008)

In Yet Another BBC Miniseries, he was played by Dominic Cooper, who you may know from Warrior Queen (2003), The Duchess (2008) as Charles Grey, My Week With Marilyn (2011), Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012), Summer in February (2013), and Agent Carter (2015-16) as Howard Stark.

Sense and Sensibility (2008)

Fuck Miss Grey and her £10,000.

2008 Sense & Sensibility 2008 Dominic Cooper in Sense and Sensibility 2008 Dominic Cooper in Sense and Sensibility

 

Which Willoughby do you want to be jilted by?

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About the author

Kendra

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Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

23 Responses

  1. LydiaR

    Greg Wise, but I wouldn’t kick Dominic Cooper out of bed for eating crackers…

    Reply
  2. Elizabeth Kerri Mahon

    Greg Wise, of course, but I love that Robin Ellis and Clive Francis were both in Sense & Sensibility as well as Poldark. I had no idea Robin Ellis played Edward Ferrars in this version with Joanna David. I must find a copy of this version. I thought that Dominic Cooper was almost too cretinous in the 2008 version.

    Reply
  3. Dee

    I don’t know about being jilted, but I want to sit next to the Willoughby from Lost in Austen just for the commentary!

    Reply
    • Kendra

      You’re thinking of Mr. Wickham (Lost in Austen is based on Pride & Prejudice), and I’m 100% there with ya!

      Reply
  4. Sarah

    Willoughby has to appealing to the audience before we find out that he got Colonel Brandon’s ward pregnant and left her. Dominic Cooper is so obviously the villain from the get-go that it gives the game away. I think the music even goes to a minor key the first time he’s on screen. He might as well be twirling his mustache. But by that same token, the 1995 Willoughby is played SO sympathetically that it’s easy to forget that little detail about how he, oh yeah, got Colonel Brandon’s teenage ward pregnant and abandoned her. At least in the second BBC adaptation, we get the conversation between him and Elinor when she tells him, “You’re a pathetic turd
    and my sister is lost to you forever.”

    Reply
  5. Charity

    Greg Wise now that he’s gone silver-haired (have you seen him on “The Crown”? OH MY), I didn’t care much for him when he was young. ;)

    Reply
  6. Kaite Fink

    Wise! But then, I think this was the best adaptation too. I like Cooper, he’s great, but this wasn’t the best version. Also, I just watched The Buccaneers yesterday. I am sick so I marathon frock flicks like there’s no tomorrow. Last time it was all Austen, so I went with non-Austen this time. Wise has aged wonderfully. Mmmmm……

    Reply
  7. eldalorien

    Peter Woodward, 100%. Back in my early-2000s peak obsession days, I spent an obscene amount of money to get that version of Sense and Sensibility on vhs, just because he was in it. It weirded me out a bit to see him with hair.

    Reply
  8. SarahV

    Greg Wise taught me what it meant to be a woman. In my head.

    I have never hated a fictional character more than when Nan ran away with him in The Buccaneers. Seethe…….

    Reply
    • Rhonda Stannard

      OMG! I absolutely melted when they ran away together in The Buccaneers. So romantic that she finally found love.

      Reply
  9. Saraquill

    I’d rather be the jilter. Let him flirt and try to win me over before I brush him off with my “already married” status. Or throw tea in his face for what he did to young Eliza.

    Reply
  10. Lily Lotus Rose

    Greg Wise, all-day, every day! Domnic Cooper is very, very sexy, but I don’t like his look in this role. Greg Wise was perfect as Willoughby, and as someone else said, he starred in the best version of Sense and Sensibility.

    Reply

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