When it was first broadcast 20 years ago, I dismissed A Year in Provence as middle-aged angst. Now, however, it has, ahem, somehow gained a relevance for me – so I jumped at the chance to snap up a copy recently.
The BBC has rereleased the series on DVD this year.
If you haven’t seen it, it stars John Thaw and Lindsay Duncan. It is, of course, an adaptation of Peter Mayle’s hugely successful book of the same name. Each of the 12 episodes is a month in Mayle’s year in the south of France.
In it, he goes about living the life that many others – myself included – only dream of.
I haven’t read the book, but, as is usually the case, the characters are said to be more subtle, more nuanced than on screen. Some of them have been changed for the purposes of TV, too. Mayle’s wife has changed her name, for example, and Mayle’s back story has been simplified.
Unfortunately, some of the other characters have become a little two-dimensional.
For me, the series hasn’t really survived the test of time. It looks dated and offers a them-and-us mentality that has been notably absent in my dealings with French people.
I think it may be a series that is best left to the people who enjoyed it the first time around. Me, I’ll stick to my year in Périgord.