Jeremy Irons Revisits Brideshead

The original 1981 BBC miniseries Brideshead Revisited returns to television on here! TV, and Jeremy Irons -- taking a break from starring on Broadway in Impressionism -- takes a moment to revisit Brideshead .

BY Advocate.com Editors

April 08 2009 12:00 AM ET

When
Brideshead Revisited

first aired on the BBC in 1981, it was truly a pioneering
moment in film. Gay cinema had yet to be fully realized as a
genre, the AIDS epidemic hadn't yet ravaged the gay community,
and Jeremy Irons wasn't yet a household name.
Brideshead

instantly became a classic, and though the relationship between
Charles Ryder and Sebastian Flyte didn't dissolve into an
explicit, sexual tryst, audiences read between the lines -- and
got a good deal more than cinema had offered up in the
past.

Brideshead

returns to television this month on here! TV, and Irons -- now
not only a household name but an Academy Award- and Tony
Award-winning actor -- took some time out of his busy schedule
starring opposite Joan Allen on Broadway in
Impressionism

to revisit
Brideshead

with Advocate.com.

Advocate.com:When
Brideshead Revisited

first aired, did you have any idea the impact the film would
have on its gay audience?Jeremy Irons:

It was not something I especially considered. I hoped it would
be enjoyed by everyone. I was most concerned to capture the
relationship with Sebastian accurately, believing that [Evelyn]
Waugh wrote it to be a close platonic relationship of the type
not easily understood by audiences increasingly exposed to
relationships that are either gay or straight.

It was a pioneering bit of filmmaking at the time. Was there
any backlash?

No, there was no backlash at all. We were fortunate that it
was, it seems, almost universally admired as a series that
captured a particular time in English life.

Have you revisited Brideshead since making the film?Brideshead

was filmed at Castle Howard in Yorkshire. The house belongs to
friends of mine, so from time to time I'm invited back. For
some of the time we filmed there I stayed at the house. I do
remember one night when I returned late from a night out, and I
had been told the alarms had been left off and was asked to
turn them on before I went to bed. However, someone must have
turned them on before my return, for as I opened the front door
all hell broke loose with sirens, bells, and flashing lights.
In my slightly inebriated state I could not work out what to
do, so as the household began to appear down the stairs I slunk
off to my bed. As I dropped off into sleep I heard the police
cars and fire engines approaching down the drive, answering the
false alarm. There were some long faces at breakfast the next
morning!

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