Perhaps I should say, Mapp & Lucia the first, because this is the 1985 adaption of the E. F. Benson novels produced for British TV. Both this and the 2014 edition are easily found on streaming services in the U.S., so it can get confusing. This first one stars Geraldine McEwan as Emmeline Lucas aka Lucia and Prunella Scales as Elizabeth Mapp.
The basic gist of the story is that Lucia is a recently widowed and incredibly snobbish, affected, upper-middle-class lady in a small British town in 1930. She moves to a seaside town and vies for social prominence with Miss Mapp, and hijinx ensue. It’s full of very arch, mannered witticisms and broadly drawn stock characters familiar to British comedy. Sometimes, this can be really funny! Sometimes, less so, but overall it’s pretty watchable.
One thing that is uniformly fantastic is the costumes! Designer Frances Tempest and her team at London Weekend Television did an amazing job of outfitting the principles and extras in a gorgeous array of late 1920s and early 1930s daywear. Lucia is quite posh, always with a great hat that sets off her sharp bobbed hair, and other ladies, such as the older Mrs. Susan Wyse, also have elegant hats. There’s embroidery and other period-appropriate trims on the gowns and coats. The accessories game is freakisly on-point with parasols, purses, gloves, jewelry, cigarette holders, and every other tiny little accoutrement that fits the period, and I’m just going to bet a lot of the items are vintage because they look so fantastic. Also, it’s great to see beautiful, flattering, historically accurate ’20s-’30s clothes on older women and plus-size women, So if you like this era, watch it for the fashions alone!
Have you watched Mapp & Lucia (1985)? Do you like ’30s fashion?