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Outlander and more shows that deserve the Lost in Austen treatment

Tara Ward watches the time travel literary hybrid Lost in Austen and drums up some more classic TV tales that could do with a bit of tinkering. 

It’s not every day one of the much-loved characters from English literature turns up in your bathroom. All I have in my bathroom are five scratchy towels and some dead houseplants, but Amanda Price has a portal to a fictional universe in hers. So when fictional creation Elizabeth Bennet unexpectedly rocks up from Regency England and suggests a quick spot of time travel, Amanda realises this is the perfect opportunity to escape her boring 21st century life.

So begins Lost in Austen, a contemporary twist on Jane Austen’s beloved novel Pride and Prejudice. Amanda’s bathroom door is a gateway into another world — 100% plausible, by the way — and when Amanda swaps places with Elizabeth she’s delighted to see the events of her favourite novel unfold before her very eyes.

But it’s not long before Amanda’s modern sensibilities cause proceedings to spiral out of control. She gets drunk, pashes the wrong bloke and can’t play the pianoforte for crap. She refers to Mr Collins as “the all-time king of mingers” (not wrong), and her very presence threatens Mrs Bennet’s precious plans to marry off her daughters. “I’ve buggered up the story,” Amanda says, “and now I have to unbugger it”.

Lost in Austen is delightfully bonkers. It’s filled with the hallmarks of classic Austen drama — sharp social observations, witty one-liners, heart-lifting romance — delivered with a comic, modern twist. It even has Mr Darcy standing in a pond with a glare so fierce it could curdle milk, and if that’s not enough to make you watch then I must bid you good day, Sir.

Come on, who hasn’t longed to ditch their everyday life and escape into a much-loved, fictional world? No? Only me then — just a girl, staring at wet Darcy in a duck pond, asking him to love her. Not that I’ve given it much thought, but here are a few more well-known stories that could do with some Amanda Price style-intervention.

The Famous Five Run Away Together

It’s about time someone empowered Anne to ditch the washing up, so she can join George, Dick and Julian as they skulk around a ruined castle rescuing Aunt Fanny’s best cushions from some evil burglars. Would it hurt Dick to put on a pair of rubber gloves and clean the cave until it sparkled like a treasure chest of stolen gems? No Dick, it would not.

Macbeth

Make sure to hook Lady M up with a pair of disposable gloves and a bottle of bleach, as it’ll help with that messy post-murder clean up and stop those pesky nightmares. You’re welcome.

Outlander

In between boinging Jamie’s ringlets and pounding herbs with Claire, it might pay to suggest they bump off Black Jack Randall while they have the chance. Also, for the love of all things hot and haggisy, please stop the King of Men from growing that post-Bastille beard. You’ll do us all a favour, on both counts.

The Bible

Make it clear to Adam that he’s welcome to eat the apple if he wants to, but if he does, it’s not the fault of the every woman for the rest of eternity, ok?

The Handmaid’s Tale

On second thoughts, I quite prefer my boring life filled with scratchy towels and dead houseplants, thank you very much.


Click below to watch Lost in Austen on Lightbox, alongside the literary-inspired Outlander and The Handmaid’s Tale

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