I had a high old time watching ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’, partly because I did it on a train – via laptop – and every time my ticket inspector got a glimpse of downloaded bottom, he put his hands over his eyes, and did a comedy side-stagger. (South West Trains have very cheerful staff, because they’re invariably on their way on to Devon).
That said, the bottom count was low – ditto boobs and bits. There was an implication of pubic hair (which, I now realise should be its collective noun. As in, “See that German man in Speedos? He has a tremendous implication of pubic hair”). However, the sexy scenes were kept low-key. The closest we got to passion was when gamekeeper Mellor got riled and talked about his ‘cock’.
Points to Mellor! I’m all for a good ‘cock’. It jumps out at a girl, doesn’t it? Vigorous and Anglo-Saxon, with a thick staff, and a helmet crying to be swilled out in a cold, Welsh river. (‘Willy’, by contrast, sounds floppy – something you’d tuck into your pyjamas. And penis just sounds like ‘peanuts’ gone wrong).
But back to Lady Chatterley. She was soft-skinned but made of steel, it turned out. Viewers knew she was ‘trouble’ because she had a face like a baby, and a hat with feathers. More importantly, she had a housekeeper who drew her curtains every morning, thus freeing her up to have an affair with the bloke who kept chickens down the bottom of the garden.
The subsequent romance was conducted with emotional simplicity – a fervent, forthright affair played out in the wreckage of World War 1. Hearts and bodies broken; a class system crumbling, and no-one to tend to the grouse.
Richard Madden played Mellor as a sensitive man of graft, not dissimilar to Craig from Big Brother 1. Crucially, Madden made a much better hunk here than he had as Prince Charming in Kenneth Branagh’s recent, syrupy ‘Cinderella’. There, he’d been constrained by a saggy script, tight britches and an apparent direction from Kenneth to ‘grin like a twit who’s taken his first Poppers’. The result was a wide-mouthed, bandy-legged hero, more frog than prince.
His lack of height didn’t help. Madden can’t be more than 3 ft high. Fortunately for this outing, Lady Chatterley was diminutive, and Lord Chatterley in a wheelchair, so Madden towered. He’d also been allowed to grow a beard, fondle chicks, and given tools (the sexy, hammering kind, not the “tools required to understand Word”).
Importantly, Madden took his top off, revealing the body of a proper, old school hunk – Sean Connery-esque chest hair, nipples that popped in and out according to the weather, and sinewy, pale-skinned muscles that smacked of manual labour, not heavy sessions with a marker at the white board.
Still, tragedy ruled: Despite Mellor swinging his Anglo-Saxon cock, I MUCH preferred the impotent one. Lord Chatterley, posh, paralysed and prepared to electrocute himself into a state of erection: What’s not to like? James Norton, the actor playing him, was a dream-boat: the kind of dishy, well-spoken chap who begs to be put in a dinner-jacket, then stripped down to his jocks. Cheekbones were chiselled, jawbone was perpetually clenched AND he got to zip around in a motorised wheelchair like a bad boy looking for an ‘up’ ramp.
Lady Chatterley, you can have your lover. I’ll take the impotent aristo in a bath-chair. I’m 43, after all. I just want to stare into his blue eyes, run my hands through his blond hair, and rest my cuppa on his lap.