Mapp & Lucia. Image shows from L to R: Lucia Lucas (Anna Chancellor), Georgie Pillson (Steve Pemberton), Elizabeth Mapp (Miranda Richardson). Copyright: BBC.

Mapp & Lucia (2014)

BBC One comedy drama based on EF Benson's characters. 3 episodes (1 series) in 2014. Stars Miranda Richardson, Anna Chancellor, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and others.

Press Clippings

A repeat for Steve Pemberton's glorious 2014 adaptation of EF Benson's comic novels about a pair of upper-class ladies engaged in elegantly acidic one-upmanship in a 1930s seaside town. Miranda Richardson is sublime as Miss Elizabeth Mapp (sporting, as Spike Milligan would say, great "English teeth, shining in the sun" - along with a sly lunacy lurking just behind the eyes), while Anna Chancellor as the snobbish Mrs Emmeline "Lucia" Lucas makes the perfect foil.

Ali Catterall, The Guardian, 15th April 2017

I spent half an hour waiting for one of the villagers to be murdered, and Miss Mapp and Lucia to join forces to solve the mystery. But no. This British comedy of manners set in the 1920s is simply about the social rivalry between the village of Tilling's incumbent busybody Elizabeth Mapp (p]Miranda Richardson]) and exotic blow-in Lucia Lucas (Anna Chancellor). It ain't quite Wodehouse but there's a touch of that mood about it all, and these two fine actresses milk it for all it's worth.

Melinda Houston, Sydney Morning Herald, 23rd May 2015

DVD review: Mapp & Lucia

This may be filmed in genteel village surroundings and was screened in three parts over the Christmas period, but do not assume this is gentle stuff.

Chris Hallam, Chris Hallam's World View, 21st January 2015

One seasonal highlight was the Mapp and Lucia remake (BBC One) starring Anna Chancellor, Miranda Richardson and most of the cast of The League of Gentlemen. Not having read the original E.F. Benson novels (though, of course, I'm going to now) I couldn't tell you whether this was a grotesque travesty or the very thing, but my family and our New Year's hosts were royally amused. Especially by the 'g'ru'.

In fact, I was so impressed that I very nearly blew out my New Year's Eve party proper so I could stay at home and watch the final episode while everyone else went out and played. Glad I didn't, though, because the party I went to was rather fun, full of charmingly debauched semi-youth telling me useful things, like this game that I think we should all try some time, where you send those Chinese lanterns into the air over your estate, then shoot them down with fireworks from a home-made rocket-launch tube. Were they kidding me or is this actually possible?

James Delingpole, The Spectator, 8th January 2015

Mapp and Lucia was phenomenal, successive nights of the most deliciously moreish television made last year. The adaptation by Steve Pemberton of E.F. Benson's exquisitely flensed comedy of manners, set in Rye in the 1920s/30s (and it really is still that lovely), when a certain rarefied form of life actually depended on a bustling church noticeboard for its every social, spiritual, ethical, sartorial and sexual sustenance, could have been carried by the eponymous leads alone for the whole three nights.

Miranda Richardson, with the help only of a subtle set of comedy dentures, was Elizabeth Mapp, and Anna Chancellor sublimely haughty as Emmeline "Lucia" Lucas: two women - ladies, actually, in a day when distinctions mattered as mattered life or death - caught in endless twitching frenzies of one-upmanship, all whispered eyebrows and quietly toxic putdowns. Richardson in particular was again phenomenal; her silent lipsticked mouth spoke volumes. It was rainbowed and beaming when happily and hissily besmirching her "friend" with the sarcastic term "precious one", or even when genuinely happy, high on unkindness, after a rare coup: but its cochineal would plummet, in repose, to a clownish moue, a faded curtain of dried lip-lines rusted with frustration. But Chancellor was no slouch; even though she won 90% of the battles, when scorned her wrath was ungovernable, and would have had 90% of ovaries (and every testicle around) fleeing for the Downs.

As I said, they could have carried it themselves, but there was glorious support. Pemberton himself as proto-gay Georgie; Poppy Miller and Mark Gatiss and Nicholas Woodeson, and Rye itself. The plots, such as they were - a dodgy Indian guru, an art competition, a something involving the Prince of Wales - were negligibly delightful. But the subplots - the mutating fashions for friendships, brief fads, the power of money, benign unacknowledged homosexuality, misappreciated appreciation for what passes for intellect (or class), the joy of witchy bitchiness - never more relevant. E.F. Benson left a little more of a canon than this: please, bring it on, and leave Downton looking like the Titanic after the feet got damp.

Euan Ferguson, The Observer, 4th January 2015

Mapp & Lucia review - beautifully tart one-upwomanship

As two 1930s society mavens engaged in increasingly deranged warfare, Anna Chancellor and Miranda Richardson led us gloriously into a world of ludicrous standoffs and Italian hogwashery.

Julia Raeside, The Guardian, 1st January 2015

'Mapp and Lucia' episode 3 review

The petty jealousy and absurd one-upmanship continues in this final instalment of BBC One's Mapp and Lucia.

Sami Kelsh, Cult Box, 31st December 2014

Radio Times review

It's pelting with rain in Tilling, and the dark skies herald bad news for reigning queen of the social scene, Lucia, when she hears that a fluent Italian speaker is to visit and wants to chat.

The conceit is, of course, that Lucia and her confirmed bachelor best friend Georgy Pilson (Anna Chancellor and Steve Pemberton) pretend that they love nothing more than whiling away hours together talking Italian. But they know just a few phrases.

I'm well aware that this sounds like torpid tosh, the kind of petit bourgeois nonsense that maybe people cared about in the 1930s when E.F. Benson wrote his Mapp and Lucia books, but why should anyone bother in the thrusting, connected 21st century?

Maybe they shouldn't, but as a piece of escapist confectionary, this is hard to beat. Au reservoir!

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 31st December 2014

'Mapp and Lucia' episode 2 review

Insufferable is the word I keep coming back to when I try to find new and novel ways of describing the two titular characters of BBC One's Mapp and Lucia. Insufferable, insufferable, insufferable.

Sami Kelsh, Cult Box, 30th December 2014

Radio Times review

The piquant minutiae of Tilling make the world of Mapp and Lucia go around. It's about bridge parties and who takes tea with whom. Since Lucia's arrival the social map has been re-drawn now that she dominates its cultural life, to the exclusion of its grinning once-grande dame, Elizabeth Mapp.

In the second episode of Steve Pemberton's adaptations, the quaint town is thrilled by the arrival of a mysterious Indian gentleman who claims he is a "guru". He is immediately annexed by a ravenous Mapp (Miranda Richardson, outrageous teeth bared) who aims to run him while excluding her arch rival and nemesis, Lucia (Anna Chancellor, oh-so-chic).

Devotees of E.F. Benson's Mapp and Lucia books will know that the guru didn't visit Tilling (he went to Riseholme) but no matter, it's another deliciously snooty hour.

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 30th December 2014