4 Reasons Why Lady Chatterley’s Lover Is A Valentine’s Treat

What could be more Valentine’s than an adaptation of one of the most hottest romantic sagas of all time? Especially THIS particular adaptation…

Lady Chatterley's Lover


If there's one thing more ravishing and pulse-pounding than a really good love story, it's a really good love story that really shouldn't be happening at all. Think of Romeo and Juliet, defying their rival families to make heart-shaped eyes at each other. Or Lancelot and Guinevere, having secret liaisons behind the king's back. It's wrong, but deliciously right. And the most forbidden of forbidden love stories is the one that unfolds between Lady Constance Chatterley - quite literally the lady of the manor - and her rugged gamekeeper Mellors.

It's a heated passion that takes a blowtorch to the rigid social barriers of the 1920s, as Constance betrays not only her husband but her "class". This is more than a story of adultery; their affair challenges all the conventions and expectations of the day, threatening to scandalise society. Add to that the rustic, tree-filled settings of their encounters, and it's no wonder this is the stuff of forbidden fantasies. And it really was once forbidden - the original novel by DH Lawrence was once the most notorious book in Britain, and the subject of a court case in 1960 over its alleged "obscenity". The Chatterley trial would help pave the way for the sexual revolution of the 60s in the UK.


Romance is all very well, but go too far with all the swooning and sighing, and things can get a bit... gushy. And that isn't sexy. This new version of Lady Chatterley's Lover is gutsy, not gushy, and it sets its central love story in a world that's gritty and so real you can smell and taste it. It begins literally explosively, with an earth-shattering accident in a coal mine that sends people running to help the survivors. In this Lady Chatterley, Mellors isn't just some sexy bit of rough - a figure from a cheesy romantic fantasy - but a hard-working man in a world fraught with threat and danger.

And as for Sir Clifford Chatterley - he's not some caricature of a snooty, posh, clueless, cuckolded husband. In this version, he's a complex portrait of a war veteran still recovering from the traumas of the trenches and battling bravely against the injuries which have left him bitter and emasculated. Handsome and gallant, he's in some ways the real hero of the story, and the sympathy we feel for him makes the love triangle of Clifford, Constance and Mellors all the more bittersweet and riveting


You'd be forgiven for thinking that, in terms of basic hunk-appeal, any adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lover will be all about a certain gamekeeper who looks magnificent while chopping wood and brooding next to tree trunks. But this version gives us two ridiculously handsome chaps for the price of one, because Constance's husband Clifford is every bit a match for Mellors in appeal. After all, he's played by Grantchester star James Norton, with all his natural charm and charisma. Not to mention, bone structure so sharp and impeccably defined it ought to be preserved in an art gallery for posterity.

And in the Mellors role? Richard Madden, just on the cusp of the mega-stardom which Bodyguard would bring him. Unlike his clean-cut, suited and booted turn in that show, this is Madden at his most earthy and tousled, a man of the woods and the soil, and a character who would give both Heathcliff and Darcy a run for their money in the "tall, dark and brooding" department.


And if you need any more convincing, there's also the fact that Lady Chatterley's Lover is the brainchild of Jed Mercurio, the man who also gave us Line of Duty and Bodyguard. In other words, one of the hottest creative forces in television right now. Being an acclaimed writer in his own right is probably one of the reasons he felt able to take on DH Lawrence and put his own bold spin on a seemingly untouchable classic of English literature. This is as much Mercurio's Chatterley as it is Lawrence's, so prepare to be taken by surprise. (We'll always have a place in our hearts for the Sean Bean version though... for obvious reasons.)