Based on the 1989 best-selling memoir of the same name by Peter Mayle about his first year in Provence, and the local events and customs.
Really entertaining series!
I have this on VHS, and I enjoyed it enormously. Every single scene had something to smile about, whether it was Peter Mayle struggling with french, or Charlemagne the rooster. I have one question, Why did so many people ignore this series at the time? Of course, it fell victim to the Darling Buds of May, which is also wonderful, but this is so relaxing to watch.
Provence has never looked so beautiful, some of the landscapes were absolutely gorgeous. John Thaw gives a rock-solid performance, that is always overlooked. When I mention this series to anyone, they are either blank-eyed or go on criticizing the books. Lindsay Duncan is also wonderful as Annie, although I read somewhere, that Thaw’s wife Shiela Hancock was originally asked to do the role before the producers decided she was too old.
Watch this series, you’ll really like it. I am just angry, that this wonderful program was ignored.
The vacation on my DVD shelf
If you’ve ever harbored a fantasy of living in a foreign country, A Year In Provence is a must see. I’ve owned the A&E DVD set for awhile and watch this series at least once a year; it’s like taking a vacation to a now familiar place where I have friends and know the ropes. I treasure this series as it shows just what it might be like to try to re-settle in a foreign land where you know no one, don’t speak the language very well, and, in this case, in a rural area where the residents aren’t fluent in English and where you have to conform to their habits, schedules, and priorities. One sees very quickly that moving to a large city might make such a transition easier where services, multi-lingual inhabitants, and common ground are more quickly found. But the charm of this story is watching the husband & wife find their way, played superbly by Lindsay Duncan and John Thaw. Their civilized British take on things is perfectly tuned. They are the strangers in a strange land and their adjustment to a new and very different lifestyle is always interesting. So many kinds of “normal” behavior are depicted and it is the rural French version that delights; never has normal made me smile so much.
The story flows seamlessly through the four seasons of a year and, while the pace is relaxed, there is an assembly of characters and situations that adds just the right spice to keep your attention. Like a fine French meal in the country of origin, by the end you know you’ve experienced the unique flavor and texture of not only the local food, but also the people, culture, and dilemmas of living country style in Provence. Likely, you’d be able to translate many of the events to almost any country that has indoor plumbing. This is a trip worth taking. 9* out of 10*